Education Week - April 24, 2013 - Special Report - (Page S13)

| S13 EDUCATION WEEK APRIL 24, 2013 Industry & Innovation > n Great WHAT TO ASK ABOUT RESEARCH change begins with great School districts want to know the products and services they buy will be worth the investment—and solid research can help them make that judgment. But how should administrators evaluate the studies companies cite when trying to land a sale? ideas. The education I experienced at Peabody prepared me to Here’s some advice on what to ask, courtesy of Ellen Bialo, the president of New York City-based Interactive Educational Systems Design, which specializes in market and product research and analysis; Rob Foshay, a senior partner with the Foshay Group, a Dallas-based training and education company; and Kenneth Zeff, the chief strategy and innovation officer for the Fulton County, Ga., schools: understand and confront the challenges in the health care industry. I now have the skills and connections to deliver value to my organization and the patients I serve. >> Was the study conducted in a district that will allow school officials to observe the intervention in action? The opportunity to meet with those doing the implementation, as well as firsthand observations, can clarify nuances and success factors that would be lost in a written report. Ashley Mace Krueger, B.S. human & organizational development (health and human services) >> Do the players in the study—both students and teachers—represent what your district looks like? If they don’t have the same socioeconomic, cultural, and educational backgrounds, the findings may not be transferable. >> Can the company easily explain the product or service, and the confirming research, to a variety of stakeholders? If the methodology is too obscure, or the program seems counterintuitive, it will be harder to rally the support that is an important predictor of success. >> How meaningful are the measures used for each benefit claimed? For example, before-and-after gains are relevant only if both measurements are done with the same test, or tests designed to be compared. Also, a state-test passing rate or score may not be sensitive enough to measure what the product or service is designed to teach or facilitate. Explore Our Difference Hot New Releases From IRA Must-have books on literacy instruction and reading theory available this spring! >> The study claims gains in achievement, but compared to what? If there’s no comparison group, you can’t tell if the product or service improved on what a district was already doing. And the comparison is meaningful only if both groups were similar at the start of the study, or if statistical adjustments were made to compensate for differences. study conducted, written, and released or >> Was theaccording to professional standards for design published integrity and research ethics? Ask the company how well the study conforms to guidelines from the American Educational Research Association, the American Evaluation Association, the Software and Information Industry Association, and the What Works Clearinghouse. >> What type of effectiveness research has been done by a third party? For supplemental products, has a white paper been done to tie it to other research? A case study is nice for anecdotal research, but is it also backed by ample data? SOURCE: Education Week Preview sample chapters and order online at GET YOUR COPY TODAY! For priority processing, enter promotion code EWS13 Call toll free 800-336-7323 (Outside the U.S. and Canada, call 302-731-1600) Join IRA and pay the member price—a 20% savings!

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - April 24, 2013 - Special Report

Education Week - April 24, 2013
Education Industry Players Exert Public- Policy Influence
Companies, Policymakers Look For Common Ground
Industry Shapes Goals And Tech Focus at N.Y.C. School
Beta Testing Ed. Products Can Get Tricky for Schools
Vetting Product Research to Determine What Works
Big-Name Companies Feature Larger-Impact Research Efforts
What to Ask About Research
Privatization Choices
À la Carte Purchasing Tactics Signal Districts’ Unique Needs
Big Companies Face K-12 Shift

Education Week - April 24, 2013 - Special Report