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With proper individualization of education, you should expect:

1. That the floor will be raised consistently, reducing lower bound differences in student outcomes

2. That the *ceiling* will be raised *unevenly*, *increasing* upper bound differences in student outcomes

Uhm, why?

I think there are at least three different ways to do "individual education". First is to assign the same time to all subjects as you would do otherwise, but teach each subject at the speed optimal for the individual. Second is to also change the schedule, such as assign more time to subjects the student has problems with (because they need most to improve there), and less time to subjects the student is good at (less needs to improve). Third is the opposite of that, assign more time to subjects that the student is good at (because those are the superpowers), and less time to subjects the student is bad at (because what's the point anyway).

I would expect different results of those three. Also, depends on how exactly you measure the "floor" and "ceiling" for students that are good at something but bad at something else. (If we take a student that would otherwise be average at everything, but we make them e.g. excel at math and suck at everything else, was the ceiling increased?)

My guess would be that most school that implement "individualization of education" choose the second way, fixing your weak places. That increases the floor, but has no impact on ceiling, or possibly even lowers the ceiling, because the students are discouraged from spending too much time on their strengths.

On the other hand, I imagine that a typical LW reader would understand "individualized education" as "help me become awesome at math and computer science, and don't bother me with the rest", which indeed would raise the ceiling unevenly.

I once attended a discussion on "The Future of Textbooks".  In attendance, but silent, was a co-founder of MIT Open Courseware & the CEO of one of the world's most innovative textbook companies. Discussion was instead dominated by a VP at Amazon who appeared to have read 3 Medium posts on the subject.


I used to give lectures on various subjects in the past, typically followed by a discussion, and it is my experience that people who know the least try to dominate the discussion, unless you push really hard against them. If an "expert" corrects me to provide additional information that I am not sure at the moment whether it is correct or not, most likely it turns out to be wrong when I later check it.

But considering that the guy is a VP at Amazon, seems like in real world overconfidence pays off handsomely.