IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/taf/ecinnt/v16y2007i5p307-322.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Improving the Performance of the Education Sector: The Valuable, Challenging, and Limited Role of Random Assignment Evaluations

Author

Listed:
  • Richard J. Murnane
  • Richard R. Nelson

Abstract

In an attempt to improve the quality of educational research, the US Department of Education's 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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:16:y:2007:i:5:p:307-322
    DOI: 10.1080/10438590600982236
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10438590600982236
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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, May.
    2. Jerik Hanushek & Dennis Kimko, 2006. "Schooling, Labor-force Quality, and the Growth of Nations," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 1, pages 154-193.
    3. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Nelson, Richard R., 2016. "The sciences are different and the differences matter," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1692-1701.
    2. Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig, 2006. "Aiming for evidence-based gun policy," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 691-735.
    3. Nelson, Richard R. & Buterbaugh, Kristin & Perl, Marcel & Gelijns, Annetine, 2011. "How medical know-how progresses," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 1339-1344.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education; Medicine; Randomized controlled trials; Research and development;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:16:y:2007:i:5:p:307-322. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: http://www.tandfonline.com/GEIN20 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.