NEPC Review: Comparing Ed Reforms: Assessing the Experimental Research on Nine K-12 Education Reforms (EdChoice, April 2020)
A report from EdChoice, working with Hanover Research, identifies and reviews studies that use Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) to determine student achievement or educational attainment outcomes of nine broad “education reform” areas. The report presents counts of studies with positive, negative, and neutral findings across these areas. RCTs are presented in the report as “gold standard” studies for determining effects of specific treatments on measured outcomes. The main concern with this report is that the casual reader will take the table presenting the tallies out of context and use it to argue that charter schools and vouchers for private schools have been studied most (because they are most important) and that most of these studies find positive effects. If, however, the report is not misused in such a way, it offers a limited contribution for readers wanting to get an initial feel for the RCT research in these areas.