How Small a Part Research Plays in Making and Implementing Educational Policy

December 16, 2015 at 7:59 am 5 comments

Thanks to Alan Fekete for this link from one of my favorite educational historians, Larry Cuban.  I’ve posted here about how how education research is mostly ignored by CS teachers (see link here).  Cuban is pointing out that policy makers don’t consider education research (or maybe research at all).  On the other hand, mathematics and science education policy leaders have told us that the research evidence base is important in gaining consensus for standards (see link here).  Maybe this is just as we might expect — the politicians don’t necessarily know the research, but they get advice from people who do.

Keep in mind that none of the above critiques of limited influence of research on policy is restricted to public schooling. Making policy in systems of criminal justice, environmental improvement–think climate change–and health improvement and clinical medicine–think of TV ads for drugs–are subject to similar political factors and personal beliefs rather than what research has found. Calls for more collaboration between university researchers and policymakers have also been heard and ignored for decades. Critics have pointed out many times that the academic culture and its rewards overlap little with the world that decision-makers face every week.

Source: How Small a Part Research Plays in Making and Implementing Educational Policy | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mike  |  December 16, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    I keep thinking about your post about how teachers don’t use research to guide their teaching. Do you know of any efforts to help teachers use research results in their teaching?
    Every now and then I’d like to look for research-based teaching advice but I’m not sure how to do it – conducting a lit review to get help on a specific topic seems both overwhelming and uncertain (maybe it’ll help, maybe it won’t), while reading new articles as they’re published seems a bit scattershot.
    Would you happen to have any links to journal articles or blog posts that help an experienced teacher (who doesn’t do research) get started?
    (Either way – thanks! )

    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  December 17, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      I’m starting a work on a book “How to Teach Computer Science.” The blog post I’ve written with the most of that kind of content (in both what I wrote and in the comments) is this one. Greg Wilson is developing a nice website to prepare Software Carpentry instructors here: .

      • 3. Mike  |  December 17, 2015 at 6:05 pm

        Awesome! Thanks!

  • […] wondered about here: Why does research influence so little practice (see post here) and policy (see post here)?  Nick is taking a novel approach — he’s using the three values of Ancient Greece, […]

  • […] doesn’t influence teaching much (see blog post), or policy (see blog post), and from the article cited below, not even in our daily […]


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