IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

A Close Examination of Jo Boaler's Railside Report


  • Wayne Bishop
  • Paul Clopton
  • R. James Milgram


Jo Boaler, an Associate Professor at the Stanford School of Education has just published an already well known study of three high schools that she called Hillside, Greendale, and Railside. This study makes extremely strong claims for discovery style instruction in mathematics, and consequently has the potential to affect instruction and curriculum throughout the country.As is the case with much education research of this nature, Prof. Boaler has refused to divulge the identities of the schools to qualified researchers. Consequently, it would normally be impossible to independently check her work. However, in this case, the names of the schools were determined and a close examination of the actual outcomes in these schools shows that Prof. Boaler’s claims are grossly exaggerated and do not translate into success for her treatment students. We give the details in the following article.Other papers where the researchers have refused to divulge such details as the names of the schools to qualified researchers have affected and continue to affect education policy decisions at the school, state and even national levels. Among these papers are Standards, Assessments – and What Else? The Essential Elements of Standards-Based School Improvement, D. Briars - L. Resnick, CRESST Technical Report 528, (2000) which has been cited repeatedly as justification for the adoption of Everyday Mathematics in school districts throughout the country, and The impact of two standards-based mathematics curricula on student achievement in Massachusetts. D. Perda, P. Noyce, J. Riordan, J. for Research in Mathematics Education, 32(2001), p. 368-398. which has been used to justify the adoption of the mathematics program “Investigations,” developed by TERC. It is worth noting that currently about 19% of U.S. elementary students use Everyday Mathematics and between 6% and 9% use Investigations, including many of our inner city schools.If we are to reverse the woeful performance of our students it seems crucial that K-12 education research be subject to the same high standards as are the norm in medicine and the sciences. As a key step we believe that the analysis here shows the dangers of accepting the legitimacy of articles such as those mentioned above as long as the results cannot be independently studied and verified.

Suggested Citation

  • Wayne Bishop & Paul Clopton & R. James Milgram, 2012. "A Close Examination of Jo Boaler's Railside Report," Nonpartisan Education Review, Nonpartisan Education Review, vol. 8(1), pages 1-20.
  • Handle: RePEc:teg:journl:v:8:y:2012:i:1:p:1-20

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    education; policy;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education


    Access and download statistics


    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:teg:journl:v:8:y:2012:i:1:p:1-20. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Richard P. Phelps (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.