NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ763338
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Selling Software: How Vendors Manipulate Research and Cheat Students
Oppenheimer, Todd
Education Next, v7 n2 p22-29 Spr 2007
Educational software makers are often rebuffed by educational authorities, whose endorsements could lead to governmental stamps of approval, and thus explosive sales. But they usually get warmer receptions in the offices of the nation's school superintendents, who are, after all, their primary customers. The system was not supposed to work this way. President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) famously requires that any instructional materials supported by federal aid be proven to work through "scientifically based research." But not everyone reads the bulletins from the Department of Education that explain what it means for research to be scientifically based, or interprets them the same way. Purveyors of education products of all kinds make claims that their goods are based on scientific proof, and thus "aligned" to federal requirements. A good many trot out studies, sometimes great numbers of them, that appear to have followed one or more steps that are hallmarks of gold standard scientific research. Frequently, they are actually pulling the wool over customers' eyes. Soon, the government will begin releasing scientific studies of its own, enabling the marketplace to embrace high scientific standards. In the meantime, the author discusses two important lessons to keep in mind when approached by software vendors: (1) beware of the seemingly persuasive numbers; and (2) researchers who evaluate classroom exercises and educators who work inside those classrooms represent two often conflicting cultures. (Contains 1 figure.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001