Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Science of Education

Many people feel that education needs to become more "scientific" in their approach to student achievement. Science and education have both similarities and differences in their approaches. Education and science differs because science often focus on the results of an experiment, while education tends to concern some question about schools and looks at data from other studies to address the concern. However, the two fields are similar in that they both use research as a means to make better decisions about practical problems.

The fields of education and medicine, specifically, are similar in that they deal with professional approaches to achieving better results to concerns. As a professional it means that there is a large body of knowledge in the field as a foundation for action, there is mastery of that knowledge, and they practice their profession.

In the medical field, doctors ask question, take baseline samples and assess the situation, and then apply their knowledge to determine a course of action to address the situation. Education should be similar, using assessment to determine a course for learning. While I disagree with the term "cure"', educators need to differentiate instruction to meet the particular needs of each student based on assessment of student needs coordinated with learning targets. Instruction can then be prescribed to move the student towards the target.

To move the field of education towards more science and medicine approach, it is important to include in the field of knowledge that is the foundation of the profession research that is based in science and experimentation. With the inclusion of "scientifically based research", educators are able to choose from rigorous programs known to be effective rather than recreate research to achieve improvement. While not a guarantee that implementing these programs will achieve great improvement, the confidence in past performance can provide guidance towards desired results through the implementation of the program.

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