Education Drivers

Systematic Reviews

A systematic review is a literature review that summarizes the results of research on specific topics. It provides plans and search strategies incorporating criteria for which studies will be accepted and which will be rejected. This practice increases confidence in the experimental studies selected for the review and the overall conclusions. Traditional literature reviews differ from systematic reviews primarily in their lack of transparency about criteria used to identify relevant studies. Systematic reviews specify clearly the quality of each study to be assessed; studies falling below a specified threshold are discarded. On the other hand, traditional literature reviews can pull from a larger pool of studies and make inferences from different fields that can be more rigorously examined in future research. One type of systematic review is the meta-analysis, which uses statistical techniques to combine the results of individual studies on a single topic into an overall effect size. This helps educators to make sense of multiple studies and permits comparisons across practices.

Data Mining

How important is it for teachers to receive subject matter training in order to obtain a teaching credential?
This inquiry lookes at two meta-analyses on the importance of subject matter training in teacher pre-service instruction.
States, J. (2010). How important is it for teachers to receive subject matter training in order to obtain a teaching credential? Retrieved from how-important-is-it.
What Practices Make a Difference in the Classroom?
This analysis examines meta-analyses to identify teaching practices that have the greatest impact on student achievement.
States, J. (2011). What Practices Make a Difference in the Classroom? Retrieved from what-practices-make-difference.
How Methodological Features Affect Effect Sizes in Education

The purpose of this article is to examine how methodological features such as types of publication, sample sizes, and research designs affect effect sizes in experiments.

Cheung, A., & Slavin, R. E. (2015). How methodological features affect effect sizes in education. Best Evidence Encyclopedia, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.


The challenges of implementing evidence based practice: Ethical considerations in practice, education, policy, and research.

This paper identified and discussed some of the more pressing challenges and associated ethical dilemmas of implementing EBP in social work and strategies to manage them, in the hopes of affirming that the process of EBP is both feasible and practicable.

Farley, A. (2009). The challenges of implementing evidence based practice: ethical considerations in practice, education, policy, and research. Social Work & Society7(2), 246-259.

Nation at risk: The imperative for educational reform: A report to the Nation and the Secretary of Education, United States Department of Education

A report entitled A Nation at Risk was published based on information distilled from commissioned research papers and public hearings. The report contains summaries of the papers and hearings; a list of findings in content, expectations, time, and teaching; a set of recommendations; and aspects of implementation related to con

Gardner, D. P., Larsen, Y. W., Baker, W., Campbell, A., & Crosby, E. A. (1983). A nation at risk: The imperative for educational reform (p. 65). Washington, DC: United States Department of Education.

Equality and Quality in U.S. Education: Systemic Problems, Systemic Solutions. Policy Brief

This paper enters debate about how U.S. schools might address long-standing disparities in educational and economic opportunities while improving the educational outcomes for all students. with a vision and an argument for realizing that vision, based on lessons learned from 60 years of education research and reform efforts. The central points covered draw on a much more extensive treatment of these issues published in 2015. The aim is to spark fruitful discussion among educators, policymakers, and researchers.

O'Day, J. A., & Smith, M. S. (2016). Equality and Quality in US Education: Systemic Problems, Systemic Solutions. Policy Brief. Education Policy Center at American Institutes for Research.

Extending the school day or school year: A systematic review of research

The school year and day length have varied over time and across localities depending on the particular needs of the community. Proponents argue that extending time will have learning and nonacademic benefits. Opponents suggest increased time is not guaranteed to lead to more effective instruction and suggest other costs. 

Patall, E. A., Cooper, H., & Allen, A. B. (2010). Extending the school day or school year: A systematic review of research (1985–2009). Review of educational research80(3), 401-436.


Replication has taken on more importance recently because the ESSA evidence standards only require a single positive study. To meet the strong, moderate, or promising standards, programs must have at least one “well-designed and well-implemented” study using randomized (strong), matched (moderate), or correlational (promising) designs and finding significantly positive outcomes. 

Slavin, R. (2019). Replication. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Understanding Bias Due to Measures Inherent to Treatments in Systematic Reviews in Education

This paper contrasts effect sizes in What Works Clearinghouse and Best Evidence Encyclopedia reading and math reviews to explore the degree to which these measures produce different estimates.

Slavin, R. E., & Madden, N. A. (2008). Understanding bias due to measures inherent to treatments in systematic reviews in education. In annual meeting of the Society for Research on Effective Education, Crystal City, VA.

Best Evidence Encyclopedia

The Best Evidence Encyclopedia is a free web site created by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education's Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education (CDDRE) under funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. It is intended to give educators and researchers fair and useful information about the strength of the evidence supporting a variety of programs available for students in grades K-12.

Campbell Collaboration (C2)

The organization promotes well-informed decision making by preparing, maintaining and disseminating systematic reviews in education, crime and justice, social welfare and international development.

What Works Clearinghouse (WWC)

The goal of the WWC is a resource for informed education decision-making. The WWC identifies evidence-based practice, program, or policy, and disseminates summary information on the WWC website.

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