09-05 Designing and Implementing Randomized Field Trails at the school level

Randomized field trials (experiments) at the school level are increasingly being undertaken to provide evidence on the effectiveness of interventions in education and social policy. In the Netherlands experiments with schools (for example the professional development of school teams in an experimental group as compared to control group schools which do not receive professional training) are relatively new, but in the USA much experience has been gained with them as a result of the No Child Left Behind policy.

The master class will provide an introduction to the rationale for school-level randomized trials in education and social policy; an overview of issues in designing, implementing, and conducting randomized trials; and a discussion of the strengths and limitations of randomized studies.

Course objectives
Participants will
  • Increase their awareness of the range of randomized trials being conducted
  • Consider key methodological issues, including design (unit of random assignment, measurement of outcomes, blocking and covariates, statistical power)
  • Evaluate examples of randomized studies

Participants should have a familiarity with basic descriptive and inferential statistics, but experience with advanced statistical techniques (e.g., hierarchical linear modeling) is not required.

Michael S. Garet, Vice President, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC, USA.

The course will include:
  • 1 day of readings and a brief task to be completed in advance of the course meeting time
  • 2 days of meetings, which will include whole group discussion, group work, and individual work
  • 1 day of reading and a brief task to be completed after the course meeting time.

Students will be evaluated on the basis of the task completed after the 2 meeting days.

To complete the course, students must meet the following requirements:
  • students must read the materials included in the course syllabus
  • students must attend both meeting days
  • students must submit an individual task laying out design issues for a case example of a randomized trial. The task is designed to be carried out in a half day, and it should be completed after the 2-day meeting
Bloom, H.S. (2006). The Core Analytics of Randomized Experiments for Social Research. MDRC Working Papers on Research Methodology. New York: MDRC.
Garet, M.S., Cronen, S., Eaton, M., Kurki, A., Ludwig, M., Jones, W., Uekawa, K., Falk, A., Bloom, H., Doolittle, F., Zhu, P., & Sztejnberg, L. (2008). The Impact of Two Professional Development Interventions on Early Reading Instruction and Achievement (NCEE 2008-4030). Executive Summary. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
Towne, L. & Hilton, M. (2004). Implementing Randomized Field Trials in Education: Report of a Workshop. Committee on Research in Education. Washington, DC: National Research Council.
Copies of slides and exercises

September 14 and 15: 10:00 am to 16.30 pm

Maximum: 20 participants

The deadline for registration for this course is August 3, 2009.
Before you register, please read our regulations for registration.
To register, please go to our registration form.