Research And Education


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Prominent political leaders, civil servants, commentators hostile to public schools, journalists, scholars from within education, and even some researchers have lent their voices to a swelling chorus of complaints. These criticisms have appeared not only in the United States but also in the United Kingdom, Australia, and other English speaking countries.

Such claims certainly make headlines, but are they valid? Surprisingly, this question has attracted little if any investigation. Almost no evidence has yet appeared concerning the actual impact of research on potential users in the education community. Without such evidence, we cannot know whether the complaining choristers have identified a real issue or are merely giving voice to mythic refrains they have heard from others. A solid body of scholarly research has established that principals play vital leadership roles in shaping school culture and practice. Principals’ views about research are therefore important in determining whether schools actually use research knowledge.

Most principals hold positive opinions about education research. Roughly 90 percent of respondents in both Australia and the United States rated knowledge from education research positively and described themselves as users of that knowledge. Most principals are actively interested in education research that is relevant to their professional needs. The principals had no difficulty volunteering examples of research knowledge they considered useful. Most principals are at least minimally familiar a wide range of education research topics. Of all the topics, teacher expectations and student achievement received high recognition among principals in both countries. In addition, U. S. principals were highly familiar with time-on-task and achievement and at-risk students. Australian principals were highly familiar with self-regulated learning.

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