Those of you who improve your public relations or social media measurement with A/B testing of emails and web pages may be surprised to learn that such randomized trials research has only recently begun to be adopted by the U.S. Department of Education. See the article in today's NY Times, "Guesses and Hype Give Way to Data in Study of Education," which discusses the work of the Institute of Education Services. The mission of the Institute is, "...to provide rigorous and relevant evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and share this information broadly. By identifying what works, what doesn't, and why, we aim to improve educational outcomes..."
Could there possibly be a more boring title for an organization tasked with such exciting work? Both the Institute's title and the "innovative" nature of its research are, perhaps, symptoms of the ossification of the educational establishment, where tradition often trumps progress. The Institute has faced "heated opposition" to its new research techniques and results. "...with a growing body of evidence on what works, researchers wonder how they can get educators and the public to pay attention." Which will sound familiar to those -- like Don Bartholomew -- who are encouraging the adoption of new, more effective techniques in public relations and social media measurement. --Bill Paarlberg, editor (thanks to The Slog for the image)