Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Average Intelligence

We were at the doctor's yesterday, and a counselor sat us down to discuss some numbers. Even as I girded myself for the usual array of bewildering physical units, the counselor told us that the array numbers—which all looked surprisingly close to 1—were all in terms of MoMs: multiple of the median. Unitless: perfect.

Most of the numbers looked just right, but one or two were a bit off, so I asked what we should understand by an entry with a MoM value of close to two. Her response: “Oh, that just means its twice the average”. I tried to clarify the distinction, until it became clear that she simply thought “median” meant “average”.

And we paid for this service.

2 comments:

Mitch Wand said...

MoM's are great: I ask students to turn in their Time on Task, and I convert these to MoM's to identify students who are at risk. (Oh dear-- I just realized the column heading should be "ToT (MoM)"). And I should have used this as a grading scale for the classroom participation in the course I taught last semester.

I never knew there was a name for this...

steck said...

There's some indicator for allergic reactions (gamma globulin?) where I've been getting a high reading. In fact, I think my reading has been 6x normal! Hard to say whether the actual number or the MoM is more frightening.

In any case, the doctor seems unconcerned.

-- Paul