How can educators improve how research is conducted?

September 26, 2019

Evidence-Based Practices in a Changing World: Reconsidering the Counterfactual in Educational Research. Much of current education research relies on experimental and quasi-experimental designs to establish causality and to ascertain the effectiveness of practices. These research designs rely on a comparison between a treatment group and a control group. Current methods assume the population from which control groups are unchanging in behavior or performance. This paper challenges this notion and finds that populations and study samples often change over time and sometimes do so dramatically. The authors examine data from 5 randomized control trials of the efficacy of Kindergarten Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies, a supplemental, peer-mediated reading program. The paper finds a significant increase in the performance of control students over time, suggesting the need for a more nuanced understanding of current research practices in the identification of evidence-based practices.

Citation: Lemons, C. J., Fuchs, D., Gilbert, J. K., & Fuchs, L. S. (2014). Evidence-based practices in a changing world: Reconsidering the counterfactual in education research. Educational Researcher43(5), 242-252.