Michael McPherson Discusses Directions for Education Research



so I think the what makes the work of education research demanding is that it does require high levels of skill and training in particular fields subject matters and and knowledge but it also requires a great awareness of context and respect for other fields of learning well ara is the core institution that stands up for the importance of education research stands up in helping people in government understand the importance of investments in your search it provides the annual opportunity for this impressively large community of scholars to to get together and I think can serve enhanced served as as leaders in some very important areas an area that's coming into focus that I think is is an important one is teacher training teacher preparation and getting a better understanding of what good instruction really is and how how instruction can be proved we know for example surprisingly little about how instruction is actually conducted in most of America's classrooms there's a lot of black boxes up there that we haven't penetrated so I think there's room for four real attention in that area one thing that is really important to me and I feel very good about some of the work Spencer is done but that others have done as well is getting better as a field in developing measures of the things that we really care about it when we think about what does it mean for students to be excellent in school we'd like to have richer measures of that when we think about how can we characterize the instruction that's going on in a classroom we'd like to have better measures of that we are currently supporting work on how can we measure the quality not simply the quantity of civic engagement it's not question just a for whom you bolt or whether you vote but how you form your opinions about building and if you can't measure that then it's hard for schools to get better at civic education so I would love to see us invest more and more consistently in measurement and then get more agreement on using the same measures so that you can make privates more effective I'm a higher education student more than a k-12 students and we really don't know for example what difference it would make if you replace those 300 person lectures that are so common in the early years of education with smaller classes which would clearly be more expensive but would it actually be dramatically more effective we don't have the data really to be able to begin to address those questions on a national scale well if you really had had that kind of understanding you would have a better sense on the one hand of what were the relationships between instructional practices and student outcomes of various kinds you would also have an idea of where the money goes and how you might rethink the way school budgets are organized or college budgets are organized in order to get more efficient use of those those resources

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