Student Forecasting Tournament Wrap-up

June 17th, 2024

This spring, the Alliance for Decision Education hosted the 2024 Student Forecasting Tournament to improve students’ decision-making skills. We teamed up with Cultivate Labs—a leading developer of forecasting solutions for private sector organizations, governments, and research institutions around the world—to offer this exciting, gamified learning opportunity for students. 

Forecasting is a method of making informed predictions based on current and historical data and trends. Being able to think through the likelihood of various outcomes is a key component of making a decision, and our forecasting tournament aimed to support students in developing this important skill. From learning how and where to find relevant and accurate research to understanding base rates and thinking probabilistically, the Alliance is exploring forecasting tournaments as a method of bringing key concepts of Decision Education to more students.

Our most recent 10-week online tournament brought together 253 students from seven schools in six states to compete in a three-round competition with prizes awarded to the top teams. Participating schools in this tournament included district, charter, and private schools. In each round, students were challenged to predict the outcomes of various questions related to current events in popular culture, such as the likelihood that a new movie would bring in a certain amount of money at the weekend box office or the total number of new Nintendo Switch video game consoles that will be sold during a given week in the next month. Students provided their rationales and made their best estimations of the probability that the event would or would not occur. Once students submitted their forecasts and the actual results of these real-life scenarios came in, teams were ranked according to their average Brier score—a calculated number that measures the accuracy of a probabilistic forecast. (Find out more about Brier scores and how they are calculated here.)

“I loved the idea behind it!!!” said teacher Laura Lockwood. “Students get so caught up with the ‘right’ answer, so I LOVED that there was no way to cheat to solve for x. They had to use all their information to best predict the results. And sometimes that worked out for them. And even sometimes, the student with very little reasoning/research got lucky. This brought up real conversations in the classroom.”

Learn more about forecasting tournaments here, and stay tuned to the Alliance blog for the latest updates.

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