Categories for Decision Making

How Effective are Most Commonly Adopted Reading Programs?

December 17, 2021

One of the most important decisions educators make is what reading curriculum to adopt.  The consequences of that decision can have profound implications for students.  Adopting a curriculum not based on the science of reading is likely to produce a generation of poor readers.  Education Week recently reviewed a report from EDReports that reported two of the most commonly adopted reading curricula failed to meet their new review standards.  The review covered both K-2 and grades 3-8 for Fountas and Pinnell Classroom and Units of Study from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.  Neither program met expectations for text quality or alignment to standards.  In 2019, EdWeek Research Center reported that 44% of K-2 early reading and special education teachers used Fountas and Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy Intervention, a companion intervention to Fountas and Pinnell Classroom.

Additionally, it was reported that 16% of teachers used Units of Study for Teaching Reading.  Approximately 60% of K-2 and special education students are taught reading with curricula that do not meet standards for reading instruction.  This is distressing given the importance of early reading on the educational trajectory for students.

Link for Ed Week article: https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/new-curriculum-review-gives-failing-marks-to-popular-early-reading-programs/2021/11

References

Kurtz, H., Lloyd, S., Harwin, A., Chen, V., & Furuya, Y. (2020). Early Reading Instruction: Results of a National Survey. Editorial Projects in Education.

 


 

Can We Close the Research to Practice Gap?

November 5, 2021

One of the persistent problems in education is the gap between what we know about effective educational practices and the practices that are frequently used in public schools.  Many of these practices do not have empirical support.  The challenge for all educators is how do we close the gap?  The flow of research to practice is often perceived as being a one way flow from researchers that develop effective interventions and disseminate them to practitioners who are expected to adopt them (Ringeisen, Henderson, & Hoagwood, 2003).  Ringeisen et al., argue that this is not likely to result in widespread adoption of effective practices.  McLaughlin and colleagues (1997) have made the argument that having an array of effective practices is not sufficient for closing the research to practice gap.  In many instances, the practices developed by researchers are not a good contextual fit for the school settings because training and experience requirements for implementers are unreasonable within the school setting, the resources necessary for implementation are not present, and the time demands to implement are unrealistic.  If the dominant model of disseminating empirically-supported interventions is not impacting the research to practice gap, what should we do?  The goal is important but we need effective alternatives to the common approach.  Recently a report from the William T. Grant Foundation, (Farrell, Penuel, Coburn, Daniel, Steup (2021) entitled, Research-Practice Partnerships in Education: The State of the Field.  In this report, the authors define research-practice partnerships as “intentionally organized to connect diverse forms of expertise and shift power relations in the research endeavor to ensure that all partners have a say in the joint work.”  This is a significant shift from usual practice in the development and dissemination of effective practices.  There are five principles associated with these partnerships: (1) they are long term collaborations (2) they work toward educational improvement or equitable transformation (3) they feature engagement with research as a leading activity (4) they are intentionally organized to bring together a diversity of expertise (5) they employ strategies to shift power relations in research endeavors to ensure that all participants have a say.  This is an important shift.  Practitioners are now partners with researchers.  It is a movement away from the researcher as expert model to a model in which practitioners are equally expert as researchers.  Each is an expert in different domains of improving educational practices.

If practitioners are involved from the beginning in guiding research then the practices are more likely to be seen as usable by educators when considering interventions to adopt. The development of research-practice partnerships has the potential to increase the adoption of empirically-supported practices.

Citation: Farrell, C.C., Penuel, W.R., Coburn, C., Daniel, J., & Steup, L. (2021). Research-practice partnerships in education: The state of the field. William T. Grant Foundation.

Link: http://wtgrantfoundation.org/research-practice-partnerships-in-education-the-state-of-the-field

References: McLaughlin, M. J., & Leone, P. E., Meisel, S., & Henderson, K. (1997). Strengthen school and community capacity. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 5(1), 15-24.
Ringeisen, H., Henderson, K., & Hoagwood, K. (2003). Context matters: Schools and the “research to practice gap” in children’s mental health. School Psychology Review, 32(2), 153-168.

 


 

How can educators effectively incorporate Professional Judgment into the decision making process?

October 4, 2021

Overview of Professional Judgment. Educators make many decisions regarding services for students. Even when there is abundant evidence to guide their decisions, educators must use their judgment about what is appropriate in a given situation. Only on rare occasion does the available evidence perfectly match the service context of concern to the educator. To bridge the gap between research and local circumstance, the educator must make a series of judgments such as defining the problem, determining which evidence is relevant, and deciding which features of the local context are likely to require adaptations to the selected evidence-based intervention. Professional judgment is a cornerstone of evidence-based practice, as are best available evidence, stakeholder values, and the context in which services are provided. In this definition of evidence-based practice, the integration of these variables influences decisions. No one cornerstone can be substituted for the others. Judgment must be informed and constrained by the best available evidence, stakeholder values, and context.

Citation: Guinness, K., and Detrich, R. (2021). Overview of Professional Judgment. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/evidence-based-decision-making-professional-judgment.

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/evidence-based-decision-making-professional-judgment

 


 

What are common criticisms expressed against data-based decision making?

July 7, 2021

Misconceptions about data-based decision making in education: An exploration of the literature. Research on data-based decision making has proliferated around the world, fueled by policy recommendations and the diverse data that are now available to educators to inform their practice. Yet, many misconceptions and concerns have been raised by researchers and practitioners. This paper surveys and synthesizes the landscape of the data-based decision-making literature to address the identified misconceptions and then to serve as a stimulus to changes in policy and practice as well as a roadmap for a research agenda.

Citation: Mandinach, E. B., & Schildkamp, K. (2021). Misconceptions about data-based decision making in education: An exploration of the literature. Studies in Educational Evaluation69, 100842.

Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191491X1930416X

 


 

Should financing be a component of evidence-based decision making?

June 18, 2021

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: A Component of Evidence-Based Education. Including cost-effectiveness data in the evaluation of programs is the next step in the evolution of evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice is grounded in three complementary elements: best available evidence, professional judgment, and client values and context. To fully apply the cost-effectiveness data, school administrators will have to rely on all three of these elements. The function of cost-effectiveness data is to guide decisions about how limited financial resources should be spent to produce the best educational outcomes. To do so, it is necessary for decision makers to choose between options with known cost-effectiveness ratios while working within the budget constraints. In this article, I discuss some of the considerations that have to be addressed in the decision-making process and implications of including cost-effectiveness analyses in data-based decision making.

Citation: Detrich, R. (2020). Cost-effectiveness analysis: A component of evidence-based education. School Psychology Review, 1-8.

Link:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/2372966X.2020.1827864

 


 

What can educators do to promote evidence-based education reform?

June 18, 2021

How could evidence-based reform advance education? This article presents a definition and rationale for evidence-based reform in education, and a discussion of the current state of evidence-based research, focusing on China, the U.S., and the UK. The article suggests ways in which Chinese, U.S., UK, and other scholars might improve the worldwide quality of evidence-based reform in education. One indicator of this partnership is an agreement among the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Nanjing Normal University, and Johns Hopkins University to work together on Chinese and English versions of the website Best Evidence in Brief and a collaboration between Johns Hopkins and the ECNU Review of Education at East China Normal University.

The Wing Institute would like to acknowledge the contributions of Robert Slavin to the field of education. Our condolences go out to Robert Salvin’s family on the loss of one of America’s premier proponents of evidence-based education, who recently passed away on April 24, 2021.  Robert Slavin was an education researcher who sought to translate the science of learning into effective teaching practices. Dr. Slavin was a distinguished professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education, where he directed the Center for Research and Reform in Education

Citation: Slavin, R. E., Cheung, A. C., & Zhuang, T. (2021). How could evidence-based reform advance education?. ECNU Review of Education4(1), 7-24.

Link:

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2096531120976060

 


 

How can educators and policy-makers overcome challenges to building an evidence-based education culture?

June 18, 2021

Evidence-Based Policies in Education: Initiatives and Challenges in Europe. This article examines the state of progress of evidence-based educational policies in Europe and identifies organizations for the generation and dissemination of evidence. Further, it discusses some of the most relevant challenges facing the development of evidence-informed education policies in Europe.

Citation: Pellegrini, M., & Vivanet, G. (2020). Evidence-based policies in education: Initiatives and challenges in Europe. ECNU Review of Education, 2096531120924670.

Link:

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2096531120924670

 


 

What decision-making frameworks can enhance evidence-based decision making?

June 17, 2021

Evidence-based decision-making: A team effort toward achieving goals. Implementing evidence-based practices requires not only knowledge of various interventions and practices but also professional judgment in selecting and applying an intervention that best meets the needs of the child and the family. Previous work on decision-making in evidence-based practices has focused on describing evidence-based practices, how the identification of evidence-based practices has affected the field of education (and, specifically, special education), and strategies for implementing evidence-based practices. The next logical step is in addressing how practitioners might make decisions about how to select evidence-based practices that match strengths and needs as well as contexts for children.

Citation: McCollow, M. M., & Hoffman, H. H. (2020). Evidence-based decision-making: A team effort toward achieving goals. Young Exceptional Children23(1), 15-23.

Link: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1096250618801287

 


 

How does money fit in the equation when evidence-based decision making?

June 17, 2021

A Cost Analysis of the Innovation–Decision Process of an Evidence-Based Practice in Schools. The translation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) to improve students’ social, emotional, behavioral, and academic out- comes into authentic school settings has posed significant challenges for both researchers and practitioners. Among the many barriers to the adoption and use of EBPs are their associated costs. This study presents a framework for integrating the diffusion of innovation theory into an economic evaluation utilizing a societal perspective, which affords the capturing of costs of all phases from adoption through implementation of EBPs for all stakeholders.

Citation: Barrett, C. A., Pas, E. T., & Johnson, S. L. (2020). A Cost Analysis of the Innovation–Decision Process of an Evidence-Based Practice in Schools. School Mental Health12(3), 638-649.

Link: A Cost Analysis of the Innovation–Decision Process of an Evidence-Based Practice in Schools

 


 

What do we know about standardized testing?

May 19, 2021

Standardized Testing and the Controversy Surrounding It. The purpose of this paper is to provide a general understanding of standardized testing as well as the current controversy surrounding it, particularly in the context of performance-based accountability systems. The overview addresses the following questions related to standardized testing:

  • What do stakeholders need to understand about standardized testing?
  • What is the history of standardized tests and how have the tests been used?
  • What are the reasons for the current controversy over standardized testing?

Citation: Polster, P.P., Detrich, R., & States, J., (2021). Standardized Testing: The Controversy Surrounding It. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute. https://www.winginstitute.org/student-standardized-tests.

Link: https://www.winginstitute.org/student-standardized-tests