What is normal?



If the term "special" is used in the sense of "students that are in need of special support", it implies that there are also students that don't have this need for special support, often so called "normal" children.

What is meant by "normal"?
The statistics provide an explanation of the term in this context.

In the table below you will find on the horizontal axis the scores of the monitoring system of language development of pupils (ABCDE score); the vertical axis shows the number of students.


grafiek ABCDE

It can be seen that most students get a C score and only a few get an A or E score.

What does the teacher do with the scores in this scheme? The teacher will give extra attention and support to students with an E score. They are in risk of being 'drop outs'. They apparently did not benefit enough from their education; they need extra assistance – but still being included in the group in terms of respected and valuable members.

Suppose that, by a strange coincidence, all students with an E-score have left school by the time the next measurement is done. The distribution of scores would then look like this:

grafiek ABCD


The average score of the group has increased and there is only one set of students that stands out: those with a D-score. Their performance lags behind that of the rest of the group, and they are now the ones who are in need of extra attention. In the first measurement, they belonged to the group of "normal" students; however, in the second situation, they suddenly are in need of special support and called "specials"?

"Normal" is then a relative term. The concept is decided upon and/or adapts to a given situation and the meaning of the term is defined by the person who is given power to use the concept and decide upon norms and conditions for group composition.


Ingemar Emanuelsson 


What’s normal

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