Measuring Things


I think that one of the side effects of collecting data to ensure students’ academic growth is that educators are constantly under pressure to put things in front of students that are measurable. Everything has a number. Everything has a value. Everything falls on a scale.

And I get it…measuring things is safe. It feels concrete. Measurements are easy to discuss.

However, all of this measuring, is like walking into the most wonderfully decorated room and just measuring every object as if that holds the key to the room’s beauty.

“If I just measure more then I’ll be able to design a room like this!”

In reality, the way to learn to design a room is by sitting in great rooms, admiring them, finding connections, seeing underlying structures, discussing their parts, revisiting them with fresh eyes, and then tinkering with your own furniture, taking chances, exploring possibilities, searching for those perfect pieces and (perhaps) occasionally measuring to see how something might work or not, not because it holds the key to great design.

In this way, teaching students and designing rooms are similar. Measuring can be useful in teaching but it doesn’t hold the key to great education. Great education, like great room design, is not something that can be easily measured.

With room design, if we focus too much on the measurements we miss the design.

With education, if we focus too much on the measurements we might very well miss the students.


Trevor (@trevorabryan)

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