Mar 162016

Research Available, BUT Not Properly Utilized

Research Available – Connecting to Practice

Research Available – How we can put education research to work

Research Available – By Thomas J. Kane ; SPRING 2016 / VOL. 16, NO. 2


“In education, the medical research model—using federal dollars to build a knowledge base within a community of experts—has manifestly failed”

“If the goal is to improve outcomes for children, we must support local leaders in developing the habit of piloting and evaluating their initiatives before rolling them out broadly. No third-party study, no matter how well executed, can be as convincing as a school’s own data in persuading a leader to change course. Local leaders must see the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of their own initiatives, as reflected in the achievement of their own students”.

“Instead of funding the interests and priorities of the  academic community, the federal government needs to shift its focus toward enabling researchers to support a culture of evidence discovery within school agencies”

research available

“The past 14 years have not produced a discernible impact on decision making in states and school districts. Can those who argue for staying the course identify instances where a school district leader discontinued a program or policy because research had shown it to be ineffective, or adopted a new program or policy based on a report in the What Works Clearinghouse? If such examples exist, they are rare”

“Professional organizations of teachers, principals, and superintendents focus on collective bargaining and advocacy, not on setting evidence-based professional standards for educators”.


Research Available – Tom Kane talks with Marty West about why education research is not having an impact on education policy on the EdNext Podcast.

This article is part of a new Education Next series commemorating the 50th anniversary of James S. Coleman’s groundbreaking report, “Equality of Educational Opportunity.” The full series will appear in the Spring 2016 issue of Education Next.

research available

In the half century since James Coleman and his colleagues first documented racial gaps in student achievement, education researchers have done little to help close those gaps. Often, it seems we are content to recapitulate Coleman’s findings. Every two years, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (a misnomer, as it turns out) reports the same disparities in achievement by race and ethnicity. We have debated endlessly and fruitlessly in our seminar rooms and academic journals about the effects of poverty, neighborhoods, and schools on these disparities. Meanwhile, the labor market metes out increasingly harsh punishments to each new cohort of students to emerge from our schools underprepared.

At the dawn of the War on Poverty, it was necessary for Coleman and his colleagues to document and describe the racial gaps in achievement they were intending to address. Five decades later, more description is unnecessary. The research community must find new ways to support state and local leaders as they seek solutions.

If the central purpose of education research is to identify solutions and provide options for policymakers and practitioners, one would have to characterize the past five decades as a near-complete failure. There is little consensus among policymakers and practitioners on the effectiveness of virtually any type of educational intervention. We have learned little about the most basic questions, such as how best to train or develop teachers. Even mundane decisions such as textbook purchases are rarely informed by evidence, despite the fact that the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) have funded curricula development and efficacy studies for years.

The 50th anniversary of the Coleman Report presents an opportunity to reflect on our collective failure and to think again about how we organize and fund education studies in the United States. In other fields, research has paved the way for innovation and improvement. In pharmaceuticals and medicine, for instance, it has netted us better health outcomes and increased longevity. Education research has produced no such progress. Why not?

research available

Even mundane decisions such as textbook purchases are rarely informed by evidence, even though the federal government has funded curricula development and efficacy studies for years.

In education, the medical research model—using federal dollars to build a knowledge base within a community of experts—has manifestly failed. The What Works Clearinghouse (a federally funded site for reviewing and summarizing education studies) is essentially a warehouse with no distribution system.

Research Available – Access the Entire Article, Here


The Widget Effect

The Dunning–Kruger Effect


Tom McDonald,; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

research available