quantitative literacy, system, variation, management


This column draws on the approach of statistician J. Edwards Deming to analyze sources and consequences of variation in an education system. Educational systems are not immune from the effects of poor statistical control, which makes it difficult for teachers to teach effectively and for managers such as principals to improve on school performance. It is also argued that the need for statistical control in these areas is in tension, if not outright conflict, with our goals for educating students.