Stephen Carroll & Ethan Scherer [328K PDF]:
This briefing synthesizes the empirical research on the effects of educational quality on the community. First, please note the word “empirical.” RAND reviewed empirical studies — studies in which some evidence was offered in support of the arguments. In the course of the literature review, we ran across books and articles in which the authors put forth logical arguments about the relationship between educational quality and the community, but did not offer any empirical evidence in support of those arguments. We do not suggest that these arguments are wrong, but we did not include them in this review because no evidence was offered in support of them.
This briefing focuses on results reported in the literature that apply to K-12 education, public and private. In our review, we generally did not consider studies that examined the effects of educational quality in either post-secondary education or early childhood education on the community.
We excluded studies that we considered of low quality, either because the methodology or the data were inadequate and which, therefore, reported findings that we thought were not well supported by empirical evidence. We also excluded studies that reported findings not adequately supported by the analysis, even if the study used accepted methodologies and substantial data.
Also, our review did not include research on how to improve quality or the cost of doing so. We looked at how educational quality affected the community, but not at what might be done to improve quality, or what that might cost.
I am pleased to invite you to a conference on “Education and Educational Research in an Era of Accountability: Insights and Blind Spots“, to be held on February 7-8, 2007, at the Pyle Center [map], near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Attendance is free, and we very much hope that members of the local educational community will be able to attend. The conference is sponsored by the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A schedule detailing the presentations is attached.
The conference will examine the impact on schools of the increased accountability, rationalization, and standardization of education symbolized and accelerated by the No Child Left Behind Act. It will also look at recent shifts in educational research that are associated with these trends, out of which a new emphasis on, and a new definition of, “scientific research” have emerged.
The conference will start Wednesday evening, February 7th, with a keynote address by Professor Richard F. Elmore, who is the Gregory R. Anrig Professor of Educational Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Co-Director of the Consortium of Policy Research in Education. Professor Elmore will be introduced by Dean Julie Underwood of the UW School of Education. He is particularly interested in complex efforts at the school level to improve the quality of instruction. He seeks to understand how current state and federal accountability systems can work to support those efforts, as well as how these systems may unintentionally work at cross purposes with school and district level efforts. His recent works include School Reform from the Inside Out and the co-edited Redesigning Accountability Systems for Education.
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