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Self-administered Forecasting Exams

There are two purposes to the self-administered exams. First, your can use them to guide your own learning. Second, if you are teaching a course that addresses any of these areas, you can use the exams to help students to learn the relevant material, and also to grade them on how much they learned. These two uses are discussed here:

Self-directed learning program

The self-administered tests allow you to conduct your own learning program. The preparation should put you in a good position to learn about important evidence-based findings related to forecasting. Many of these findings are not intuitively obvious.


One way to prepare for the self-administered exams is to first study the recommended preparation materials for a given topic. Then find a learning partner. Each of you would then complete the test. 

Your partner would grade your exam and provide feedback as to what percentage of the material you have mastered. This allows you to see if you understand the material well enough to explain it to another person.

An alternative approach is to take the exam prior to reading the preparation materials. Then grade your exam and then read the materials. This approach is frustrating, but it motivates people to relieve the frustration by studying the relevant aspects of the readings.

Still another approach is the read the questions and then try to memorize the answers. This is the low-frustration approach. On the negative side, this type of learning will not stick with you very long.

Exams to be used in courses; or, “Steal this exam!”

Instructors can assign the self-administered exams to students as learning tasks. Interestingly, they can then use the exact same questions on an end-of-course exam. How can this be? Isn’t it akin to stealing the exam?


In 2010, Scott Armstrong prepared a battery of 130 open-ended questions for a course on forecasting. The material related to the questions was discussed in the lectures and in related readings, and students were urged to apply these findings on their projects. The students received the questions well in advance of the final exam. They were advised to work with a learning partner. The exam consisted only of questions from this battery. Now get this: the answers were also provided. 

The questions all relate to evidence-based findings, and they went beyond every-day knowledge. Thus, someone who had not studied the material would score around zero. So what do you think was the average exam grade and the range of scores in this class of 11 students? 

Click to see the exam results.

Questions:

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Judgmental Bootstrapping

Extrapolation Methods

Intentions and Expectations

Combining

Evaluating Forecasting Methods