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WHY SCIENCE SHOULD GUIDE EDUCATION PRACTICES AND POLICIES AND WHY HAS THIS BEEN SO DIFFICULT www.ReidLyon.com

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Title: WHY SCIENCE SHOULD GUIDE EDUCATION PRACTICES AND POLICIES AND WHY HAS THIS BEEN SO DIFFICULT www.ReidLyon.com


1
WHY SCIENCE SHOULD GUIDE EDUCATION PRACTICES
AND POLICIES AND WHY HAS THIS BEEN SO
DIFFICULT www.ReidLyon.com
2
The Profession Through the Ages
  • The history of the profession has never been a
    particularly attractive subject in professional
    education, and one reason for this is that it is
    so deplorable a story.
  • For century after century all the way into the
    remote millennia of its origins, the profession
    got along by sheer guesswork and the crudest sort
    of empiricism. It is hard to conceive of a less
    scientific enterprise among human endeavors.
  • Lewis Thomas (1983)

3
Cont. The Profession Through the Ages
  • Virtually anything that could be thought up for
    treatment was tried out at one time or another,
    and once tried, lasted decades or even centuries
    before giving it up.
  • It was, in retrospect, the most frivolous and
    irresponsible kind of human experimentation,
    based on nothing but trial and error, and usually
    resulting in precisely that sequence.
  • Lewis Thomas (1983)

4
Why Scientific ResearchIs Critical To Instruction
Essential for identifying effective
instructional practices
Provides reliable information about what works
and why and how it works
Essential for designing new effective teaching
methods
5
Alternatives To Research-Based Instruction
ANECDOTES
UNTESTED BELIEFS ABOUT TEACHING AND LEARNING
FADS, QUICK FIXES, AND APPEALS TO AUTHORITY
STUDENT FAILURE
6
EXAMPLES OF FLAWED ASSUMPTIONS
  • Learning to Read is a Natural Process (Goodman,
    1967 Smith, 1973 1977)
  • Basic Reading Skills (PA, Alphabetic Principle,
    Spelling,) Should be Taught Only On An As
    Needed Basis
  • Reading Is the Construction of Meaning Where the
    Emphasis Should Be Placed on Comprehension
  • Teachers Should Guide Rather Than Teach Directly
  • Phonics Instruction Can Be Harmful

7
WHY DO FLAWED ASSUMPTIONS REMAIN POPULAR DESPITE
READING FAILURE?
  • Related to Perceptions of Teacher Empowerment
  • Beliefs In Child-Centered Approaches to Learning
    Where Students Construct Knowledge Individually
  • The Belief That Instructional Effectiveness
    Linked to Objective Measurement of Reading
    Outcomes Was Unauthentic and Irrelevant
  • The Goal of Reading Instruction Is to Promote a
    Love of Reading, Not the Ability to Read

8
What does the Scientific Evidence tell us about
these assumptions?
  • Learning To Read Is Not a Natural Process
  • Learning To Read Requires the Development of An
    Integrated Array of Complex Skills
  • Reading Instruction Must be Provided
    Systematically, Particularly For Students Who Are
    At-Risk For Reading Failure
  • Teacher Knowledge of Reading Development and
    Reading Instruction is Essential

9
Scientific Quality Rigor -A STUDY IS DEEMED
TO BE SCIENTIFIC WHEN
  • There is a clear set of testable questions
    underlying the design
  • The research design and methods are appropriate
    to answer the questions and falsify competing
    hypotheses and answers
  • The study is explicitly linked to theory and
    previous research
  • The data are analyzed systematically and with the
    appropriate tools
  • The data are made available for review and
    criticism.

10
NICHD Multidisciplinary Research Program
Fundamental Scientific Questions
  • How Do Children and Adults Learn Language,
    Reading, and Mathematics?
  • 2. Why do Some Children and Adults Have
    Difficulties Learning Language, Reading, and
    Mathematics?
  • 3. Which Instructional Interactions,
    Methods, and
  • Strategies Are Most Beneficial For Which
  • Students Within Which Content Domain ?

11
WHAT DO KIDS NEED TO KNOW TO READ?
  • A HECK OF A LOT!

12
Life Experience Content Knowledge Activation of
Prior Knowledge Knowledge about Texts
Oral Language Skills Knowledge of Language
Structures Vocabulary Cultural Influences
Reading Comprehension
Prosody Automaticity / Rate Accuracy Decoding Phon
emic Awareness
Motivation Engagement Active Reading
Strategies Monitoring Strategies Fix-Up
Strategies
Florida Reading Initiative
13
Major Sources of Reading Failure
  • Socioeconomic Factors Poverty
  • Biological Factors Genetics and Neurobiology
  • Program and Instructional Factors

14
What Can WE Do To Help Our Kids Learn to Read?
15
Early Intervention is Effective
  • Prevention studies in reading (and behavior)
    commonly show that 70- 90 of at risk children
    (bottom 20) in K- 2 can learn to read in average
    range.
  • (Fletcher et al., 2006)

16
Systematic InstructionConcepts to
teach with an organized logical
sequence
  • - Instruction is intentional not catch as catch
    can
  • Prerequisite skills mastered before introducing
    new concepts
  • Progress monitoring is used to guide
    differentiated instruction and ensure mastery
  • All concepts and skills are integrated and
    practiced to ensure comprehensive understanding
    and generalization

17
What Science Tells Us About Effective Instruction
20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Percentage Point Gains
16 13 15 19 19 12
Individualization
Computerized Instruction
Mastery Learning
Application
Instructional Media
Tutoring
18
Creating Effective Schools by Preparing
Effective Instructional Leaders An
instructional leader must ensure the following
  • Evidence-Based Curriculum
  • Continuous Evaluation and Accountability
  • Challenging Goals for Both Students and Teachers
  • Opportunity to Learn and Sufficient Time for
    Instruction
  • Parental Involvement
  • Safe and Orderly Environment
  • Collegiality and Collaboration

19
Effective Teachers Requires
  • Deep Knowledge of Content and Instructional
    Skills
  • Ability to Plan and Set Specific Goals and
    Objectives
  • Knowledge of Scientifically-Based Curriculum
    Design
  • Knowledge of Research-Based Instructional Methods
  • Knowledge of Formative and Summative Assessment

20
Cont. Effective Teachers Requires
  • Customizing Instruction for Individual Students
  • Classroom Management and Organization
  • Motivating and Engaging Students
  • A Positive Attitude Towards Teaching
  • Ability to Implement and Sustain Programs

21
Why Effective Leaders and Teachers are Essential
Avg. Principal School Avg. Teacher
100
90
Least Effective Principal Least
Effective Teacher
80
70
Most Effective Principal Least Effective
Teacher
60
50th percentile
50
40
Least Effective Principal Most Effective Teacher
30
20
Most Effective Principal Avg. Teacher
10
50 3 37 63 78 96
Most Effective Principal Most Effective Teacher
22
So if we know all of this, why is it so darn hard
to translate the research into practice and
policy?
23
EDUCATION AS ANTI-SCIENCE
  • Historical Resistance to a Research-Driven Field
  • Teaching as a Low Status Occupation
  • Womens Work Nurturing More Important than
    Teaching Skills
  • Teaching was a genetically Endowed Affective
    Ability

24
Cont. EDUCATION AS ANTI-SCIENCE
  • The Influence of Postmodernism Truth is in the
    Eye of the Beholder
  • Cause and Effect Principles do not Exist
  • Scientific Methods to Determine Cause and Effect
    were Useless
  • Many Colleges of Education Remain Wedded to
  • Anti-Scientific Perspectives
  • Experience Valued Above Use of Scientific
    Research

25
Uneven Quality of Educational Research
  • SUPERFICIAL
  • LACKING IN RIGOR
  • EMPHASIZES BREADTH OVER DEPTH
  • BASED ON IDEOLOGY RATHER THAN
  • SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES
  • INACCURATE (WRONG DESIGN AND METHODS)
  • Levine (2005, 2006)

26
UNEVEN QUALITY IS HISTORICAL, PERSISTENT, AND
INTERNATIONAL
  • Much educational research is badly done,
    amateurish, gimmicky. (Nisbet, 1974)
    President of the British Educational research
    Association
  • Schools of education chronically allow graduate
    students tom matriculate with weak research
    skills it seems that any student who persists
    long enough can get a degree as a researcher
    (Cohen, 2004 U. of Michigan)
  • I havent seen any movement in our field to deal
    with itIt troubles me deeply that so few of my
    colleagues seem to take it seriously (Cohen,
    2004)

27
LIMITED DEMAND FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IN
EDUCATION
  • Limited Trustworthiness Practitioners have
    little confidence in research because of fads,
    inconsistent results, magic bulletsetc.
  • Limited Usability Research frequently reported
    to be irrelevant to practice, too theoretical,
    and presented in an incomprehensible manner
  • Limited Accessibility Difficulty obtaining
    research findings that are relevant and
    comprehensible.
  • Limited Respect Trivial - Research can say
    anything you want it to say

28
TEACHERS AS MARGINALIZED CONSUMERS
  • Teachers (and administrators) provided little
    background in what constitutes valid research
  • Less than one third of instructional practices in
    reading based on scientific findings (Kennedy)
  • Only 56 of administrators at the doctoral level
    found their research courses to be valuable

29
LIMITATIONS IN DISSEMINATION OF VALID RESEARCH
FINDINGS
  • National Diffusion Network No requirement for
    formal peer-reviewed and externally validated
    promising practices
  • ERIC - Until recently, promising practices
    selected through a nominating process without
    regard for scientific effectiveness studies
  • No common criteria for evaluating the quality of
    evidence
  • Information Overload 334,647 abstracts entered
    into ERIC between 1991 and 2001.

30
THE IMPLEMENTATION PROBLEM We ignore the
necessary but not sufficient Rule!
  • NO MATTER HOW EVIDENCE-BASED A PROGRAM, METHOD OR
    STRATEGY IS, IT WILL FAIL UNLESS
  • Teachers know their stuff
  • Building level instructional leadership is strong
  • Professional Development is systematic and
    sustained
  • A common assessment and instructional language is
    used
  • Teachers have time to collaborate

31
THE IMPLEMENTATION PROBLEM
  • CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICES
    ARE IMPLEMENTED WITH FIDELITY
  • Realistic expectations of time involved in
    implementation
  • Sufficient scaffolding so teachers understand
    steps
  • Sufficient professional development
  • Commitment of support for and by school
    administration and instructional leadership
  • Commitment to form and function of the innovation
  • As little as 25 of teachers are interested in
    successful implementation.

32
THE POLICY TAIL WAGGING THE RESEARCH DOG
  • Our strategy to change that
  • Elevate critical importance of reading
    proficiency
  • (1991-2005)
  • Stress negative consequences of reading failure
  • (1996-2005)
  • Reading Failure is not only an educational
    problem it is a public health problem
  • (1996 0 2005)
  • Congressional testimony to gain support for SBR
  • (1997-2005)

33
Cont. THE POLICY TAIL WAGGING THE RESEARCH
DOG
  • Development and funding for the Reading
    Excellence Act (1998)
  • Development and funding for NRC and NRP
  • Reading First legislation (2001)
  • Partnership for Reading(2001)
  • What Works Clearing House (2001)
  • NRC Report on Scientific Research in Education
    (2002)
  • Education Sciences Reform Act IES (2002)

34
Ideological Political Pushback
  • Ad hominem attacks against individuals
  • Concerted attacks against policy and
    evidence-based practice
  • Federal politicization of Reading First
  • Unsubstantiated allegations
  • Greed
  • A faltering of grass roots support for SBRR

35
Can Research Ever Guide Policy Practice? THE
JURY IS STILL OUT
  • WHAT WILL IT TAKE?
  • Accountability in teacher and administrator
    preparation
  • Instructional leadership
  • Policies to ensure the continued development of
    and implementation of research-based programs and
    materials
  • Increased research on implementation factors
  • A concerted voice from the educational community
  • Courage!!

36
In 1997, United States Congress
National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development U.S. Department of Education
Report of the National Reading Panel
37
(No Transcript)
38
Prevent disabilities through effective instruction
www.guilford.com
www.guilford.com
www.nasdse.org
jackfletcher_at_uh.edu
39
Thank you!www.ReidLyon.com
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