Slavin: Overcoming Four Barriers to Evidence-Based Education


Dr. Robert Slavin

Dr. Robert Slavin

The following post was originally featured in Education Week

Imagine if we used evidence to guide everything we do and teach in our nation’s neediest schools.

As part of this vision, educators would constantly look at their own outcomes and benchmark them against those of similar schools elsewhere. In areas that needed improvement, school leaders could easily identify proven, replicable programs. As part of the learning and adoption process, they would attend regional effective-methods fairs, send delegations to visit nearby schools using the programs, and view videos and websites to see what the programs looked like in operation.

If school leaders chose interventions that met high standards of evidence, the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies would make available modest funding and offer other supports to help schools implement their interventions with fidelity. We have not seen evidence-based reforms implemented nationwide in this manner—or the quality of education available to poor children improve—in the past three decades. This is due to four basic problems:

• Too few rigorous evaluations of promising programs;

• Inadequate dissemination of evidence of effectiveness;

• A lack of incentives for localities to implement proven interventions; and

• Insufficient technical assistance for implementing evidence-based interventions with fidelity.

The federal government can play a productive role in addressing each of these problems. Drawing on lessons from previous initiatives, it is now possible to design a system in which government, developers, researchers, and educators work together to transform educational practice, especially in Title I schools.

Continue reading this post at Education Week

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