Why it matters that ‘experts’ are poor predictors in education

Experts are poor predictors of the future, says Larry Cuban, a former high school social studies teacher, district superintendent, and professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, for the Washington Post. In one study, college counselors were given information about a group of high-school students and asked to predict their freshman grades in college. The counselors had access to test scores, grades, the results of personality and vocational tests, and personal statements from the students, whom they were also permitted to interview. Predictions that were produced by a formula using just test scores and grades were more accurate. In another study, “data from a test used to diagnose brain damage were given to a group of clinical psychologists and their secretaries. The psychologists’ diagnoses were no better than the secretaries’.”

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