The GiveWell Blog


Averages really annoy me. Average income, average test score, etc. When we’re talking about any kind of analysis of people, I have a hard time thinking of any case where you should be looking at the average of anything.

I much prefer “% of people above some threshold” type measures: % of students who graduated in 4 yrs or less, % of students scoring at proficiency level 3 or higher, % of families earning $20k/yr or less. This kind of metric is about 1.2x as complicated, and 2000x as meaningful, as an average.

Just thought you’d like to know.