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Proven Programs

Evidence at Risk in House Spending Bill

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 06.25.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

I can't speak for all of the affected programs, but I do want to address what some of these proposed cuts could do. In a word, they would devastate the movement toward evidence as a basis for policy and practice in education.

Making Evidence Primary for Secondary Readers

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 06.11.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

Striving Readers was a serious, well-meaning attempt to solve a very important problem faced by far too many secondary students: difficulties with reading. But next time anyone thinks of doing something on that scale, I hope they will provide preference points in the application process for applicants who propose to use approaches with solid evidence of effectiveness.

It's Proven. It's Perfect. I'll Change It.

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 06.04.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

Innovation within proven programs can be a good thing, when schools have fully embraced and thoroughly understand a given program and now can see where it can be improved or adapted to their circumstances. However, innovation too early in replication is likely to turn the best of innovations into mush.

Give a Man a Fish...

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 06.30.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation has announced it is setting up a new Evidence-Based Policy and Innovation division in Washington. Its purpose will be to encourage policy makers to utilize evidence and data in their decision making. But not just encourage. According to the press release, it wants evidence and data to be "the primary factor" in policy makers' decisions.

When Will We Reach Our 1962 Moment in Education?

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 06.23.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

To reach our 1962 moment will require sustained investment in development, evaluation, and scale-up of proven programs in all subjects and grade levels, and a change of policies to encourage the use of proven programs. I hope our 1962 moment is coming soon. To bring it closer, we have a lot of work to do, in innovation, evaluation, policy, and practice.

One Small Step for Washington, One Giant Leap for Children

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 06.16.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

At one of the most divisive political moments in our nation's history, in a piece of legislation that itself is controversial and has failed to be reauthorized despite numerous attempts over the past six years, a bipartisan amendment providing for education innovation and research sailed through a Senate committee.

Helping Struggling Schools

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 06.02.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

There are a lot of schools in the U.S. that need to be achieving much better outcomes. However, there is a much smaller group of schools in which achievement levels are appalling. The solutions for garden-variety low-achieving schools are arguably different from those for schools with the very worst levels of performance.

Accountability and Evidence

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 05.26.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

The way we can find out what works is to compare schools or classrooms assigned to use any given program with those that continue current practices. Ideally, schools and classrooms are assigned at random to experimental or control groups. That's how we find out what works in medicine, agriculture, technology, and other areas.

Governing From the Outside In and Back Out Again

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 05.19.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

Let a thousand (local) flowers bloom, and then send sacks of proven flower seeds back to the locals to use as they see fit. But there is a key step in the middle of this process that only the federal government can play: evaluation, and communicating the results of the evaluations. So it should be in education.

The Role of Research in Limited Government

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 05.12.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

Just as Jeb Bush and others in his party seem to be recognizing that research and development are among the few education-related activities that should remain at the federal level, the Republican-controlled Congress is proposing to eliminate the Investing in Innovation (i3) program and cut back other federal investments in research and development.

Eat Your Pets

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 05.05.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

Education will never make progress until we can educate the public to tolerate a little bit of explanation. Otherwise, we'll be eating our pets until the cows come home.

Social Spending Innovation Research

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 04.28.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

From its earliest days, innovation has been the lifeblood of the American economy. When Americans face problems, they innovate to find solutions. Innovation is how America solves problems. We need to find every way we can to help innovators solve the serious problems we face in education.

Investing in Innovation: Informing Local Control

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 04.14.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

The new Congress is working on alternative versions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Republican proposals have a strong emphasis on getting the federal government out of what they believe should be local decisions. Unfortunately, the Republican bill in the House of Representatives takes out a critical support for local control: Investing in Innovation (i3).

Fund What Works!

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 04.07.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

President Obama's recently released budget may or may not make its way into law, but it has already made its way into the hearts of those who believe that government programs must be held to account for producing the outcomes they are intended to produce. Red or blue, everyone should want government dollars to make a difference.

Show Me the Evidence

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 03.24.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

The need for evidence should be obvious, but very few federal programs have evidence of effectiveness. Few even have a process for finding out what works and encouraging grantees to use proven approaches, instead of approaches with the same desired outcomes that do not work or whose effects are unknown.

Seeds, Bricks, and Sand: Stages of School-Reform Readiness

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 03.17.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

Every school, no matter how effective at improving student outcomes, could probably be even more effective, and some schools have a particularly long way to go.

America's Strength: An Innovation Economy

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 03.10.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

In a 2012 article in The New York Times called "China's Rise Isn't Our Demise," Vice President Joe Biden wrote a cogent summary of America's advanta...

Teachers as Professionals in Evidence-Based Reform

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 02.17.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

Teachers need not be researchers to contribute to their profession. By participating in networks of like-minded educators -- implementing, continuously improving and communicating about practical approaches intended to improve outcomes of proven approaches -- they play an essential role in the improvement of their profession.

Accountability for the Top 95 Percent

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 02.10.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

Moving to a focus on evidence-based reform will not solve all of the contentious issues about accountability, but it could help us focus the reform conversation on how to move forward the top 95% of teachers and schools -- the ones who teach 95% of our kids -- and how to put accountability in proper proportion.

To the New Congress

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 01.13.2015 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

Our children can't wait for better educational programs and practices. They need them now. This is something that all people of good will can agree on.

Are Proven Educational Innovations Ready for Prime Time?

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 12.30.2014 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

Much as providing evidence of effectiveness is an advance in education, there is a real need for a determination of the degree to which programs are also ready for widespread implementation.

Promoting Proven Programs in Title I: The Bully Pulpit

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 12.23.2014 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

The greatest victory for evidence-based reform would be for the roughly 51,500 Title I schools to make far greater use of programs known to enhance student learning, benefitting millions of at-risk children throughout the U.S.

Thank You, Jim Shelton

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 12.16.2014 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

Everyone who works to advance evidence-based reform in education was saddened to learn that Jim Shelton will be leaving the U.S. Department of Educ...

Where's the Science in Science Education?

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 12.09.2014 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

STEM is indeed critical for American economic competitiveness and progress. So naturally you'd expect that STEM subjects would be among the best researched of all, right?

On Beyond Preschool: Alleviating Poverty Over a Lifespan

Robert E. Slavin | Posted 11.17.2014 | Education
Robert E. Slavin

Poverty isn't like polio, which can be cured in one treatment. The factors that lead to a child being in a disadvantaged family at preschool are likely to persist afterwards, and top-quality education is needed at every age to help children overcome effects of poverty.