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I wish there was an education version of Jerome Groopman's new book, How Doctors Think
, to help us understand how teachers make decisions about students' learning difficulties. The Groopman book examines the thought processes of various doctors, focusing especially on how -- and why -- even the best of them tend to get things wrong when diagnosing patients. As Groopman shows, the errors (up to 24 percent in some studies) have common causes: doctors aren't listening carefully, they're thinking of their previous patients, or they rely on experience rather than using statistical guidelines
. Are teachers any better or worse at making tough decisions with little time and lots of uncertainty? More important, what are the error patterns in their decisionmaking?