Blog: Education by the Numbers

Clinical trials for textbooks and curriculum

When I first happened upon the Institute of Education Sciences’s “What Works Clearinghouse,” I wrote a little piece back in early June 2013 about the Saxon Math curriculum. But I didn’t realize how ground breaking this research was. In fact, I worried that my post was a bit PR-ish for the Saxon Math program.But Gina Kolata put the Institute’s work in context in this interesting NYT piece published on Sept. 2, 2013, which I nearly missed over Labor Day.

“…a little-known office in the Education Department is starting to get some real data, using a method that has transformed medicine: the randomized clinical trial, in which groups of subjects are randomly assigned to get either an experimental therapy, the standard therapy, a placebo or nothing.”

This is exactly the kind of data crunching that can change classroom practice.

(Dear Readers, I’m having trouble getting the IIE’s What Works Clearinghouse links to work today. If it doesn’t resolve soon, I’ll try to learn what’s going on.)


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