Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Bias In Educational Research

I can't believe that anyone's surprised by this:
Critics have attacked Big Pharma for widespread biases in studies of new and potentially profitable drugs. Now, scholars are detecting the same type of biases in the education product industry — even in a federally curated collection of research that’s supposed to be of the highest quality. And that may be leaving teachers and school administrators in the dark about the full story of classroom programs and interventions they are considering buying.

An analysis of 30 years of educational research by scholars at Johns Hopkins University found that when a maker of an educational intervention conducted its own research or paid someone to do the research, the results commonly showed greater benefits for students than when the research was independent. On average, the developer research showed benefits — usually improvements in test scores — that were 70 percent greater than what independent studies found.

“I think there are some cases of fraud, but I wouldn’t say it’s fraud across the board,” said Rebecca Wolf, an assistant professor in the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University and lead author of the draft study. “Developers are proud of their products. They believe in them. They’ve worked hard in developing these products. They want a study that puts the best face forward.”

Biased research matters because current federal law encourages schools to buy products that are backed by science.
Gambling? In Casablanca?

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