Diverse Perspectives
Diverse Perspectives

Session title:

Diverse Perspectives on Understanding the Policy Uses of Education Research

Education Researchers Study the Use of  Evidenced-Based Research in the Formulation of  Education Policy

From the provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) to the Investing in Innovation (I3) grants competition, the expectation in recent federal policies is that states, local districts, and schools will ground their programs in research-based evidence. Increasingly, state and local initiatives echo the federal call for research-based policy, while the most ardent critics of those policies often question their merits by focusing on the research base. Yet little is known about how state officials, school board members, and educators have responded. How do they define research-based evidence? To whom do they turn to interpret, translate, and apply research findings? How much weight do they give to research relative to other types of evidence, such as professional judgment and experience with past policies? Does research use vary by policy type, phase of the policy process, or level of the education system?

This symposium addresses these and other questions through four presentations drawn from separate studies, each focused on research use at different levels of the education system. These include administrators and teachers in schools facing corrective action for inadequate progress under NCLB; school boards making decisions and interacting with community interests; state education agency staff working to improve low-performing schools; and national policy entrepreneurs and state officials developing and implementing the Common Core State Standards.

The session objectives are to:

• Explore similarities and differences in research use across governmental levels and policy actors
• Illustrate a range of methods for measuring and analyzing research use in policy contexts
• Suggest implications for developing more nuanced and contextually informed strategies to strengthen connections between research and policy

Division L - Educational Policy and Politics

Schedule Information:

Time: Monday, April 16, 10:35 a.m.–12:05 p.m.  

Building/Room: Vancouver Convention Centre, Second Level - East Room 14

Session Participants:

The Acquisition and Use of Evidence District-Wide

Kara S. Finnigan (University of Rochester)Alan J. Daly (University of California - San Diego)

“The Research Says . . .”: Uses of Research Evidence in School-Board Deliberations

Robert Asen (University of Wisconsin - Madison)Deb Gurke

State Education Department Acquisition and Use of Research in School Improvement

Margaret E. Goertz (University of Pennsylvania)Diane Massell (University of Michigan)

Evidence Use in the Common Core State Standards Initiative

Lorraine M. McDonnell (University of California - Santa Barbara)Stephen Weatherford (University of California - Santa Barbara)

Chair: George W. Bohrnstedt (American Institutes for Research) 

Discussant: Kenji Hakuta (Stanford University) 

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