“What? Me Worry?

“What? Me Worry? is the attitude of education researchers, writes Douglas Reeves, CEO of the Center for Performance Assessment, on Education Gadfly. Reeves cites a study by Peggy Hsieh and Joel R. Levin, which ran in the Journal of Educational Psychology on “ed researchers’ continued retreat from accepted research methodology. In this case, randomized experiments.”

Randomized experiments, aka field trials, whereby an experimental group that receives an intervention (say, Whole Language) is compared with a control group that receives no intervention, have been standard operating procedure since rats were first run through mazes. But who needs control groups in the age of feelings-based research?

. . . Hsieh and Levin report that “The percentage of total articles in these four journals [Cognition & Instruction, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Experimental Education, American Educational Research Journal] based on randomized experiments decreased over the 21-year period in both the educational psychology journals (from 40 percent in 1983 to 34 percent in 1995 to 26 percent in 2004) and the American Educational Research Journal (from 33 percent to 17 percent to 4 percent).”

Education policy makers are eager for the latest magic bullet and reluctant to think through fundamental changes, Reeves argues.

via Joanne