Some blog followers might be interested in a recent post “The Randomistas’ War On Global Poverty (was Chocolate Makes You Smart)” [Hake (2012a)]. The abstract reads:
ABSTRACT: In my post “Chocolate Makes You Smart!” [Hake (2012b)] at http://bit.ly/QheB7E, I wrote: “While awaiting Randomized Control Trials (RCT’s) in which the inhabitants of randomly selected countries are provided with placebos in place of chocolate. . . . .” In response Kevin Laws of the Physoc list pointed to: (a) a movement called the “Randomistas” led by MIT economist Esther Duflo http://bit.ly/TpiswJ, which holds that “RCT's are neither impossible nor immoral in the social sciences, but instead are required”; and (b) the fact that the Randomistas “have been responsible for resolving a number of long-standing philosophical debates with actual RCT data - the effectiveness of mosquito nets, for example.”
Although RCT’s may be the gold standard in medicine and global-poverty-reduction research by the Randomistas, they are certainly not that in education research generally - see e.g., (a) “Randomized Control Trials: The Strange Case of the Contradictory Graphs” [Hake (2012b)] at http://bit.ly/TQdfhX; (b) “A Response to ‘It's Not All About Class Size’ ” [Hake (2009)] at http://bit.ly/KBzuXV; and (c) the present signature quote. Nevertheless, RCT’s seem to have been used effectively in education research by the Randomistas according to information at http://bit.ly/TtTRae.
Despite the Randomista’s concern for education, there’s no indication that the “Center for Economic and Policy Research” (CEPR) http://bit.ly/U1DTSU, for which Duflo is a Program Director for Developmental Economics http://bit.ly/VgQ3y8, is aware of the overriding influence of poverty on the educational achievement of U.S. children, as emphasized in many references in the present post. This despite the fact that, according to information at http://bit.ly/U1DTSU, CEPR is concerned in part with “gaps in the social policy fabric of the U.S. economy.”
To access the complete 21 kB post please click on http://bit.ly/V93tXl.
“In some quarters, particularly medical ones, the randomized experiment is considered the causal ‘gold standard.’ It is clearly not that in educational contexts, given the difficulties with implementing and maintaining randomly created groups, with the sometimes incomplete implementation of treatment particulars, with the borrowing of some treatment particulars by control group units, and with the limitations to external validity that often follow from how the random assignment is achieved.”
- Thomas Cook and Monique Payne in "Evidence Matters"
[Mosteller & Boruch (2002)]
Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles: http://bit.ly/a6M5y0
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs: http://bit.ly/9nGd3M
REFERENCES [URL’s shortened by http://bit.ly/ and accessed on 29 Nov 2012.]
Hake, R.R. 2012a. “The Randomistas’ War On Global Poverty (was Chocolate Makes You Smart)” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at http://bit.ly/V93tXl. Post of 29 Nov 2012 14:27:16-0800 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists.
Hake, R.R. 2012b. “Chocolate Makes You Smart!” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at http://bit.ly/QheB7E. Post of 24 Nov 2012 10:34:31-0800 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists and are also on my blog “Hake'sEdStuff” at http://bit.ly/10Nkcoa with a provision for comments.
Mosteller, F. & R. Boruch, eds. 2002. Evidence Matters: Randomized Trials in Education Research. Brookings Institution, publisher’s information at http://bit.ly/UoX3sA. Amazon.com information at http://amzn.to/n6T0Uo. An expurgated Google book preview is online at http://bit.ly/RX1k3u.