The best educational measurement strategy is the one that fits your specific circumstance, not the hottest method of the day. And not necessarily the ones that pols believe are singularly able to deliver “real, hard data.”
The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), for example, reserves its highest rating of confidence for studies based on well-implemented Randomized Control Trials (RCTs), arguably the gold standard in evaluation. RCTs are not only credible, but are presumed to be top-of-the-line in eliminating bias and uniquely capable of surfacing replicable results (assuming fidelity to the original model).
Much has been written in the past year about whether RCTs deserve the vaunted status they’ve been assigned (see, for instance, the debate between Lisbeth Schorr and the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s “Friends of Evidence” group and Patrick Lester of Stanford’s Social Innovation Research Center). (more…)