James Pembroke

Why setting Sats standards shouldn’t be a group activity

Vulnerable children are at risk from a slow-moving system and wily parents when they move between schools

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In his book On Trails, journalist Robert Moor writes that crowds “can collectively make judgements that rival those of the most highly regarded experts”. But there is one important caveat to trusting the wisdom of crowds: participants must act independently, because in those “experiments where people were given access to one another’s answers, the collective intelligence worsened”.

The more influence that members of a group exert on one another, the less accurate the outcome. The only exception to this is when participants are shown previous best guesses, but that only works if those managing ...

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