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Research: The Rise Of Randomized Trials

500x_syrup Once considered impractical, unhelpful, and unethical, randomized trials are being used a little bit more than in the past among housing, health, and -- yes -- education researchers.  This NYT article describes a controversial homelessness prevention study, and mentions several other examples (including a cute one suggesting that classroom webcams increased teacher attendance in rural Indian schools).  In education, Roland Fryer's education lab at Harvard is conducting a bunch of these, albeit on a pretty small scale.  There are probably others.  Maybe the spread of economics in education research, and the pressure to measure program efficacy, are finally moving the research community off of its duff.  

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Alexander,

Thanks for bringing light to the need for rigorous research in education. The good news is that there has been a shift toward more randomized control trials in our field.

To wit: the regional educational laboratory program (a network of 10 labs funded by the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education) is supporting many large-scale, carefully conducted scientifically based research studies.

Over the next year or so, findings will be released from these studies (23 in all). Collectively, they should add a lot to the body of scientific education research.

Learn more here: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/relwork/index.asp?showType=2

Bryan Goodwin
McREL

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