John Donlosky

/Tag: John Donlosky

Survivorship bias and the enduring appeal of bad ideas

2018-10-09T13:19:52+01:00October 9th, 2018|Featured|

Survivorship bias occurs when we draw conclusions from examples which have passed some selection criteria and systematically discount those which have not. During World War II, British bombers were suffering a fairly awful attrition rate and the RAF were understandably keen to try to improve their survivability. Most of the bombers that limped back to base showed signs of heavy damage around the cockpit and wing tips and so the prevailing opinion was that if these sections of the aircraft were reinforced more planes would survive. Then, along came statistician, Abraham Wald who pointed out that engineers were only considering the [...]

Context isn’t king

2016-11-21T16:26:09+01:00November 21st, 2016|Featured|

It's become quite fashionable recently to say that there's no best way to teach because what works depends on the context in which you teach. This is a considerable improvement on asserting that [insert half-baked, debunked practice of your choosing] is the best way and then penalising teachers for not doing it, but it's still a bit of a cop-out. I'm not claiming context doesn't matter - of course it does - but it isn't nearly as important as some would have us believe. Clearly, the context of schooling in different countries varies greatly and most right-thinking people acknowledge that 'policy tourism [...]