Big-Name Companies Feature Larger-Impact Research Efforts
Educators are struggling to balance a desire for evidence of effectiveness with the need to try new approaches
The big-name companies in education have a lot riding on the credibility of their products, services, and technologies. And that credibility comes with a price. Serious efficacy studies can start as high as $150,000, a price tag that keeps most smaller market players from commissioning similar studies.
"We all have a responsibility to ensure that our products and services obviously fulfill the educational promise we're making," said Francie Alexander, senior vice president of Scholastic Education and chief academic officer for global book publisher Scholastic, Inc., based in New York City. To that end, Scholastic has a five-stage research life cycle that starts with foundational and formative research and ends, depending on the program or product, with ongoing replication studies.
Continual data analysis is critical for maintaining that educational promise, said Ms. Alexander, referring to a necessary addition in 2008 to the company's READ 180 reading-intervention software program, which launched in 1999 and is designed for students in grades 4 and higher. Of 23 major studies of READ 180, only two indicated no positive effect; further digging found problems...
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