• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

How can educators make sense of the complexities of research?

Making Sense of Research brings together the best of two worlds—the “real” world where education is practiced daily and the “ivory tower” world where research is ongoing. The authors have written this book for practitioners at all levels, from teachers making site-specific decisions such as allocating time, to administrators making schoolwide and policy decisions such as reducing class size. They outline and explain how quality research can inform, enlighten, and provide direction to educators that will save time and money, as well as make schools more effective and increase opportunities for students.

Educators are increasingly accountable for the outcome of their efforts. This vital resource will assist them in assessing the validity of research claims by leading the reader through a revealing examination of five critical questions:

Does it work? (the causal question); How does it work? (the process question); Is it worthwhile? (the cost question); Will it work for me? (the usability question); Is it working for me? (the evaluation question)

Making Sense of Research will change the way you read and think about research, and thereby help you enhance school improvement, sustain your vision of quality education, attain your mission, and ultimately increase student achievement.

The Causal Question: Does It Work? (Part I)
The causal question: Does it work? (Part I)

A recent editorial in USA Today, bemoaning mediocrity in teacher education programs, summarized a research study for its readers in an accompanying sidebar: “Dallas researchers tracked groups of children with similar reading scores starting in fourth grade. Half were assigned highly rated teachers for 3 years; the other half were given low-rated teachers” (Editorial, 2002, p. 14A). The results, depicted in a bar graph, indicated that students assigned to the highly rated teachers scored at the 76th percentile in reading at the end of the 3 years, whereas the students assigned to the ineffective teachers scored at the 42nd percentile (Jordan, Mendro, & Weerasinghe, 1997). In essence, the editorial board ...

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