Improving the Performance of the Education Sector: The Valuable, Challenging, and Limited Role of Random Assignment Evaluations
AbstractIn an attempt to improve the quality of educational research, the U.S. Department of Education%u2019s Institute of Education Sciences has provided funding for 65 randomized controlled trials of educational interventions. We argue that this research methodology is more effective in providing guidance to extremely troubled schools about how to make some progress than guidance to schools trying to move from making some progress to becoming high performance organizations. We also argue that the conventional view of medical research -- discoveries made in specialized laboratories that are then tested using randomized control trials -- is an inaccurate description of the sources of advances in medical practice. Moreover, this conventional view of the sources of advances in medical practice leads to incorrect inferences about how to improve educational research. We illustrate this argument using evidence from the history of medical research on the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11846.
Date of creation: Dec 2005
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Other versions of this item:
- Richard J. Murnane & Richard R. Nelson, 2007. "Improving the Performance of the Education Sector: The Valuable, Challenging, and Limited Role of Random Assignment Evaluations," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(5), pages 307-322.
- I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-12-20 (All new papers)
- NEP-EDU-2005-12-20 (Education)
- NEP-HRM-2005-12-20 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-URE-2005-12-20 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ladd, Helen F. & Walsh, Randall P., 2002. "Implementing value-added measures of school effectiveness: getting the incentives right," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-17, February.
- Eric A. Hanushek, 2004. "What if there are no 'best practices'?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 156-172, 05.
- Dennis D. Kimko & Eric A. Hanushek, 2000. "Schooling, Labor-Force Quality, and the Growth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1184-1208, December.
- Nelson, Richard R. & Buterbaugh, Kristin & Perl, Marcel & Gelijns, Annetine, 2011. "How medical know-how progresses," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 1339-1344.
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