March Madness!

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Just kidding- this blog doesn't have anything to do with basketball. But I got your attention, didn't I?  

Now, let's get to what really matters...research. Do you know how much teacher education "research" is out there? Try typing those keywords into a research database and -- with the click of a button -- you'll be overwhelmed with just short of a million articles.

Two years ago, my supervisor at NCTQ set me out on a daunting task of swimming through that sea of self-reports, case studies, and disposition questionnaires in search of an elusive beacon of light--quality research about teacher preparation.

So when I came across Gersten, Taylor, ... et al, Summary of research on the effectiveness of math professional development approaches, I took notice. Not because of the substance (although the substance is great), but because there are researchers out there who had undoubtedly shared the pain I have experienced over the last handful of years slogging through hundreds of so-called teacher education "research" studies to find the select few of which anyone could rely on results. 

NCTQ had a slew of standards that each required its own research inventory designed to sort out studies by strong/weak design and by whether or not they were designed to measure impact on student learning.  This graphic illustrates my research screening process:

The graphic above is very similar to the one presented in the Gersten paper, illustrating how the authors' original search net of 910 articles petered out to five strong design studies that measured impacts on student learning (of which only two had positive impacts).

Stepping back from both my work and theirs and taking in the big picture, it's upsetting that the field of teacher education has so little solid research to inform its practices.