ADVANCING SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IN EDUCATION
Lisa Towne, Lauress L. Wise, and Tina M. Winters, Editors
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by Contract No. ED-00-CO-0088 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education, Grant No. 2002-7860 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Grant No. 200200225 from the Spencer Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Education, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, or the Spencer Foundation.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Research in Education.
Advancing scientific research in education / Committee on Research in Education ; Lisa Towne, Lauress L. Wise, and Tina M. Winters, editors.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 0-309-09321-X (pbk.)—ISBN 0-309-54598-6 (pdf)
1. Education—Research—United States. I. Towne, Lisa. II. Wise, Lauress L. III. Winters, Tina M. IV. Title.
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Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2005). Advancing Scientific Research in Education. Committee on Research in Education. Lisa Towne, Lauress L. Wise, and Tina M. Winters, Editors. Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON RESEARCH IN EDUCATION 2004
Lauress L. Wise (Chair),
Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO), Arlington, VA
Baltimore City Public School System
Department of Community Health, Brown University, Providence, RI
School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder
Division of Educational Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Jack McFarlin Fletcher,
University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center and Center for Academic and Reading Skills
Robert E. Floden,
College of Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing
Ernest M. Henley (emeritus),
Department of Physics, University of Washington, Seattle
Vinetta C. Jones,
School of Education, Howard University, Washington, DC
Brian W. Junker,
Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Ellen Condliffe Lagemann,
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Department of Sociology, University of Chicago
College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe
Lisa Towne, Study Director
Tina M. Winters, Research Associate
The central idea of evidence-based education—that education policy and practice ought to be fashioned based on what is known from rigorous research—offers a compelling way to approach reform efforts. Recent federal trends reflect a growing enthusiasm for such change. Most visibly, the No Child Left Behind Act requires that “scientifically based [education] research” drive the use of federal education funds at the state and local levels. This emphasis is also reflected in a number of government and nongovernment initiatives across the country. As consensus builds around the goals of evidence-based education, consideration of what it will take to make it a reality becomes the crucial next step.
In this context, the Center for Education of the National Research Council (NRC) has undertaken a series of activities to address issues related to the quality of scientific education research.1 In 2002, the NRC released Scientific Research in Education (National Research Council, 2002), a report designed to articulate the nature of scientific education research and to guide efforts aimed at improving its quality. Building on this work, the Committee on Research in Education was convened to advance an improved understanding of a scientific approach to addressing education prob-
lems; to engage the field of education research in action-oriented dialogue about how to further the accumulation of scientific knowledge; and to coordinate, support, and promote cross-fertilization among NRC efforts in education research.
The main locus of activity undertaken to meet these objectives was a year-long series of workshops to engage a range of education stakeholders in discussions about five key topics. Since these events provide the basis for the committee’s conclusions and recommendations, we wish to acknowledge and thank speakers2 from each of the events for their extremely helpful contributions to our deliberations:
• Peer Review in Federal Education Research Programs. This workshop focused on the purposes and practices of peer review in many of the federal agencies that fund education research. Federal officials and researchers considered a range of models used across the government to involve peers in the review of proposals for education research funding and discussed ways to foster a high-quality portfolio. It took place on February 25-26, 2003, at the Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington, DC. A report of this event was issued in July 2004 and contains the committee’s conclusions and recommendations about peer review in federal agencies that support education research. It can be viewed at http://books.nap.edu/catalog/11054.html.
Speakers included Diane August, August and Associates; Hilda Borko, University of Colorado, Boulder; Steven Breckler, National Science Foundation; Susan Chipman, Office of Naval Research; Dominic Cicchetti, Yale University; Louis Danielson, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education; Kenneth Dodge, Duke University; Edward Hackett, Arizona State University; Milton Hakel, Bowling Green State University; Teresa Levitin, National Institutes of Health; Penelope Peterson, Northwestern University; Edward Reddish, University of Maryland; Finbarr Sloane, National Science Foundation; Brent Stanfield, National Institutes of Health; Robert Sternberg, Yale University; and Grover (Russ) Whitehurst, Institute of Education Sciences.
• Understanding and Promoting Knowledge Accumulation in Education: Tools and Strategies for Education Research. With a focus on how to build a
coherent knowledge base in education research, researchers and federal officials considered several elements of the research infrastructure, including tools, practices, models, and standards. Fundamental questions about what such a knowledge base might look like were also considered in this context. It took place on June 30-July 1, 2003, at the main building of the National Academies in Washington, DC. A summary of this event appears in this report as Appendix B.
Speakers included Daniel Berch, National Institutes of Health; Norman Bradburn, National Science Foundation; Claudia Buchmann, Duke University; David K. Cohen, University of Michigan; Harris Cooper, Duke University; Ronald Ehrenberg, Cornell University; David Grissmer, RAND Corporation; Kenji Hakuta, University of California, Merced; Kenneth Howe, University of Colorado, Boulder; Jay Labov, National Research Council; Helen (Sunny) Ladd, Duke University; David McQueen, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Hugh (Bud) Mehan, University of California, San Diego; Gary Natriello, Columbia University; Michael Nettles, Educational Testing Service; Barbara Rogoff, University of California, Santa Cruz; Barbara Schneider, University of Chicago; Marilyn McMillen Seastrom, National Center for Education Statistics; Robert Slavin, Johns Hopkins University and the Success for All Foundation; Sidney Winter, University of Pennsylvania; and Lauress L. Wise, HumRRO.
• Random Assignment Experimentation in Education: Implementation and Implications. The evidence-based education trend has brought to the fore decades of debate about the appropriateness of randomized field trials in education. Far less consideration has been devoted to the practical aspects of conducting such studies in educational settings; this workshop featured detailed descriptions of the implementation of studies using randomized field trials in education and reflections on how the current trend to fund more of these studies is influencing states, districts, and students. It took place on September 24, 2003, at the Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington, DC. A summary of this event was issued in May 2004 and can be viewed at http://books.nap.edu/catalog/10943.html.
Speakers included Robert F. Boruch, University of Pennsylvania; Wesley Bruce, Indiana Department of Education; Linda Chinnia, Baltimore City Public School System; Donna Durno, Allegheny Intermediate Unit; Olatokunbo S. Fashola, Johns Hopkins University; Judith Gueron, MDRC; Vinetta C. Jones, Howard University; Sheppard Kellam, American Institutes for Research; Anthony (Eamonn) Kelly, George Mason Uni-
versity; Sharon Lewis, Council of the Great City Schools; Loretta McClairn, Baltimore City Public School System; David Myers, Mathematica Policy Research; and Richard J. Shavelson, Stanford University.
• Journal Practices in Publishing Education Research. Following the more general discussion of how to build a coherent knowledge base in education in a previous workshop, this event took up the specific case of journals that publish education research. Editors, publication committee members, and others involved in the production and use of journal articles considered ways to promote high-quality education research and to contribute to the larger body of knowledge about important areas of policy and practice. It took place on November 11, 2003, at the Wyndham City Center in Washington, DC.
Speakers included Bridget Coughlin, National Academy of Sciences; Catherine Emihovich, University of Florida; Glenn Firebaugh, Pennsylvania State University; Lynn Liben, Pennsylvania State University; Margaret McKeown, University of Pittsburgh; Gary Natriello, Columbia University; Hannah Rothstein, City University of New York; Barbara Schneider, University of Chicago; Judith Sebba, University of Sussex; Gary VandenBos, American Psychological Association; and John Willinsky, University of British Columbia.
• Education Doctoral Programs for Future Leaders in Education Research. A final workshop focused on the professional development of education researchers, with a specific emphasis on doctoral programs in schools of education. Deans, graduate study coordinators, foundation officials, and policy makers came together to share observations and chart potential paths for progress. It took place on November 12, 2003, at the Wyndham City Center in Washington, DC.
Speakers included David K. Cohen, University of Michigan; Margaret Eisenhart, University of Colorado, Boulder; Charles Hancock, Ohio State University; David Labaree, Stanford University; Felice Levine, American Educational Research Association; Steven Raudenbush, University of Michigan; Lee Shulman, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Joseph Tobin, Arizona State University; and Grover (Russ) Whitehurst, Institute of Education Sciences.
Additional information on each of these events and speakers, including transcripts of each workshop, can be found at http://www7.nationalacademies.org/core/. Appendix A is a compilation of the workshop
agendas. This report is a synthesis of themes and recommendations that emerged from the workshop series viewed as a whole.
Of course, without the generous support of our sponsors, neither the workshop series nor this report would be possible. We extend our gratitude to the former National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board and the Institute of Education Sciences, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation for their support and guidance.
We extend our thanks to each of the members of the Committee on Research in Education (see Appendix C for biographical sketches). We especially appreciate the efforts of the workshop planning groups, who designed a series of outstanding events on important topics in education research and policy. Several NRC staff played critical roles in shaping the workshops and deserve special recognition: Tina M. Winters served as the research associate throughout the project, applying her considerable talents to a range of project tasks, including the development of the knowledge accumulation workshop; Meryl Bertenthal ably led the staff effort in developing the agenda for the peer review workshop. And we thank Christine McShane and Eugenia Grohman for their skillful editing of the manuscript.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Mary E. Dilworth, Research and Information Services, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Washington, DC; Emerson J. Elliott, Program Standards Development Project, National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, Washington, DC; Gary J. Natriello, Department of Sociology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University; Penelope L. Peterson, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University; Barbara Rogoff, Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz; Nora Sabelli, Center for Technology and Learning, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA; Morton M. Sternheim, STEM Education Institute, University of Massachusetts,
Amherst; Jeanine P. Wiener-Kronish, Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco; Suzanne M. Wilson, Department of Teacher Education, Center for the Scholarship of Teaching, Michigan State University; Mary Yakimowski, Research, Evaluation and Accountability Department, Baltimore City Public Schools.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert L. Linn, School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
Lauress L. Wise, Chair
Lisa Towne, Study Director
Committee on Research in Education