Tag Archives: research

Reform Math Went Poorly in Quebec

Starting in 1999, schools in Quebec implemented an ambitious curricular & instructional program at all schools in the province. Broadly speaking, this program can be considered “constructivist” and the math program in particular seems to have been of the “reform math” variety. To get a sense for what the reformers had in mind, they described wanting students to […]

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For Teachers: An Important Paper on Rewards and Motivation

If you ask a teacher about the virtues of giving students rewards for behavior, effort, or accomplishment, there is a very good chance that he will tell you about the dangers of “extrinsic motivators”. Specifically, he me may tell you that giving students rewards for doing something will undermine their “intrinsic” motivation to continue doing […]

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For Reformers: An Important Paper on Worker Compensation and Incentives

I’ve written before that education reformers often have an unfortunate lack of perspective about the way the world works outside of education. This means that reformers often unjustifiably assume – implicitly or explicitly – that their proposed changes would make education more like other sectors. This assumption, in turn, makes reformers’ proposals seem more intuitive […]

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Even Educators Don’t Understand Transfer

Two months ago Harry Webb wrote a post about “attempts to educate teachers” that included a brief discussion of How People Learn, the National Research Council’s attempt to condense a vast research literature on learning for classroom use. I was reminded of my experience of reading HPL in grad school and wanted to write something in […]

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Are People Weirdly Obsessed With Teachers?

I like education research. I think it’s interesting and important. Sometimes, though, there is an obsession with teachers and teaching that I find…strange.  For example, why is this a research paper? The process of teaching is not selfless, as some suggest. Rather, in its best manifestations it is an ideologically and culturally loaded activity in […]

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“Student-Centered” Teaching Often Isn’t

I don’t like the phrase “student-centered” and I often prefer instructional approaches that could be described as “teacher-centered”, so this interests me on two levels: In both [math and science], traditional modes of instruction (teacher-centered) were found to be positively and significantly associated with achievement in all countries, while more constructive modes of instruction (student-centered) […]

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Three Cheers for the NCES

Coming off of last week’s post about high school graduation rates, I’ve got a more detailed (with graphs and everything) post up at This Week In Education. The basic idea, again, is that over the last 40 years we’ve not only seen graduation rates increase substantially, we’re also seeing significantly higher achievement (at least according to […]

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College Is Worth It For Most Students

In a new working paper – ungated version here – Philip Oreopolous and Uros Petronijevic review the research on returns to college investment. The bottom line is that while there is considerable variation in the returns students may realize by spending money on college, “the investment appears to payoff for both the average and marginal […]

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What Can Be Done To Improve Struggling High Schools?

That’s the title of a new paper from a team of economists that includes Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame. Education reform discussions tend to obsess over the lower grades, so I always like to see people consider the upper grades. Their general diagnosis is that we set high schools up for failure by insisting that […]

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Good Comment On My NGSS Op-Ed

I was very pleased with how my anti-NGSS piece turned out over at EdSource, but there were definitely issues I could have explored further. I was therefore especially glad of this comment from a reader: Now that the NGSS has been integrated with the Common Core, there is something VERY interesting and concerning. The “evidence” […]

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