To help develop and improve programs and practices in U.S. schools and classrooms, current national policies strongly encourage more widespread application of rigorous research methods for evaluating what works. Although randomized experiments have been accepted and applied as the gold standard for testing and developing innovations in other fields, most notably medicine, their application to questions in education has been infrequent. This article articulates the logic of these experiments, discusses reasons for their infrequent use in education, and presents several ways that evaluators may apply experiments to the special circumstances surrounding education. If randomization is to be more widely accepted and implemented in education, the ethical and political dilemmas of withholding services must be addressed, experiments must be adapted to fit the messy and complex world of schools and classrooms, and an even stronger federal role is needed to foster and sustain experimentation and improvement of educational practices.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology