The Gold Standard and Knowing What to Do

The call for evidence-based educational practice presumes that science is a way to good knowing and often presumes as well that good knowing leads more or less directly to good acting. We will not critique science as a means to good knowing, particularly regarding the effectiveness of educational interventions. Rather, we shall urge educators to pay more attention to the relationship between scientific knowledge and what can be done with that knowledge. Providing an accurate view of this relationship is critically important to how science can serve as a vehicle for change in social practice. “At issue are the potency and value ascribed to certain forms of evidence in supporting propositions that arise in educational practice”(Thomas, 2004, p. 1).

Much of the impetus for the recently revived debate about the role of scientific evidence in education stems from two pieces of legislation passed in the United States. The first is the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB, 2002). However, the second, the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA, 2002), is more important to our business here. ESRA established four new centers in the US Department of Education (US ED): The Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Research, National Center for Education Statistics, and National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Of these, the President of the United States said at a press conference:

Today I have signed into law H.R. 3801, an act to provide for improvement of Federal education research, statistics, evaluation, information, and dissemination, and for other purposes. This Act will substantially strengthen the scientific basis for the Department of Education's continuing efforts to help families, schools, and State and local governments with the education of America's children. This Act is an important complement to the No Child Left Behind Act enacted earlier this year. (Bush, 2002, para. 1)

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Covariance Transportation Expense Smoke Arena 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Policy StudiesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Canadian Centre for Research on LiteracyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Jasper Place Secondary SchoolEdmonton Public School BoardCanada

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