The Status Quo of Outliers


It turns out, that there have been a ton of studies that explain simply truths in complicated scientific terms basic ideas that we all seem to have missed because of their sheer simplicity.  For example, a recent study of high performing students (top 10% of an academic class) are very likely to perform well within prescribed structures but are not likely to do well “outside the box”.  A follow-up pointed out that outliers are most likely to be the ones thinking outside the box.

That seems like something we should not need research to figure out. But apparently, we do because research out of Stanford shows that we are seven times more likely to ask members of the status quo to try and think outside the box than we are to bring those outliers in.  In short, we are more likely to stick with status quo in our efforts to break out of the… status quo.

In a personalized classroom, we have a chance skew to that data just a little. There will always be students on the far side of normal, kids that drive us nuts and a more personalized approach will not make weird less weird. Nor will it change the shape of our cultural bell curve, but it can allow us to see the value of weird. It could be as simple as asking a student to find a way to demonstrate what they have learned.  The criteria doesn’t change, just how they chose to get there.



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