The need for research

Education Week published an interesting opinion piece by Robert E. Slavin, director of the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University, the director of the Institute for Effective Education at the University of York (England), and the co-founder and chairman of the Success for All Foundation.  In the piece, he urges Congress, in reauthorizing the ESEA, to think about “… how to ensure that proven educational practices become widely and effectively used.”  Slavin argues for more research to determine what really works and then investing resources into scaling proven practices.  It’s not rocket science and certainly not a new proposal… yet, it still seems like evaluation continues to be an afterthought.  Does everyone simply want to reinvent the wheel?  Slavin mentions the availability of research on sites like What Works Clearinghouse and the Best Evidence Encyclopedia but wading through the extensive reports can be daunting and time-consuming.  (Although, I have to say that IES WWC’s Quick Review summaries are quite good – easy to read and informative.)  A question – is there a way we can engage teachers in action research that meets evidence standards and share the findings in such a way that is timely and useful for teachers and administrators?