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Education Researchers to Advise White House Officials on Better, Cheaper Studies

Researchers meet with White House officials from the Office of Science and Technology Policy this morning to discuss ways to make high-quality experimental research less expensive and quicker to turn around to educators in the field.

Groups in education, health, and workplace safety studies—all of which, as I reported a few weeks back, were winners of new experimental design grants from the Washington-based Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, will share their experiences and offer policy advice for ways that lawmakers can encourage faster, cheaper randomized controlled studies using the massive amounts of administrative data that schools produce.

Experts from the Aspen Institute called for such a meeting back in May, arguing in an Education Week commentary that, "the constellation of organizations and agencies conducting and disseminating education research is too fragmented and disjointed, rendering the enterprise much less helpful than it could be to policymakers and practitioners alike. In a time of tremendous academic need and tight budgets at every level of the system, we must be increasingly intentional about building coherence in this arena."

While the meeting is not open to the public, a report on the proceedings is expected to be released, and may give a boost to the long-awaited reauthorization of the federal Education Sciences Reform Act, which has passed the House but has been waiting to be taken up by the Senate. During House hearings on the reauthorization, there was rising interest in both developing quicker, cheaper experimental studies and providing more studies that look for the contexts in which interventions are most likely to succeed.

It will be interesting to see if the meeting produces its own usable ideas for education researchers and practitioners.

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