Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Advocacy Research: So-Called Research Must Not Be Misused to Defend Politically Popular Educational Policies | Ed In The Apple

Advocacy Research: So-Called Research Must Not Be Misused to Defend Politically Popular Educational Policies | Ed In The Apple:

Advocacy Research: So-Called Research Must Not Be Misused to Defend Politically Popular Educational Policies

Image result for big education ape gates research


It has become commonplace for electeds, journalists and advocates to begin a speech or article with “Research says ….” The use of the word “research” adds credibility to whatever argument they’re pursuing.  I was taught that research begins with a hypothesis, moves to a research design, the collection of data or access to data sets, the application of the appropriate statistical tools, the analysis of the results commonly expressed in a standard deviations  (“…quantity calculated to indicate the extent of deviation for a group as a whole”) and the reporting of the significance of the findings.
Sadly, advocacy researchadvocacy research is commonplace. Organizations hunting for research findings that support their positions or conducting research to “prove” positions already established.
(See Howard Wainer, “Uneducated Guesses: Using Evidence to Uncover Misguided Education Policies, 2011 – watch U-Tube here)
The New Teacher Project (TNTP) published “The Widget Effect,” research alleging that teachers were unsupervised and urging a more formalized teacher evaluation system. The New Teacher Project has been a critic of teacher tenure and supports using value-added measurements of teacher effectiveness to drive salary schedules, promotions and discharge decisions.  The report has been quoted hundreds of times, see examples here  and here.
States jumped on board and many states adopted teacher evaluation plans based on data – the application of a dense algorithm usually called value-added measurement. When the dust cleared tens of millions of dollars later, there is no evidence that “teaching” is more effective, in fact, the reliance on complex Advocacy Research: So-Called Research Must Not Be Misused to Defend Politically Popular Educational Policies | Ed In The Apple:
Image result for big education ape gates research


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