ERIC Number: EJ1212757
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Rigorous Large-Scale Educational RCTs Are Often Uninformative: Should We Be Concerned?
Lortie-Forgues, Hugues; Inglis, Matthew
Educational Researcher, v48 n3 p158-166 Apr 2019
There are a growing number of large-scale educational randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Considering their expense, it is important to reflect on the effectiveness of this approach. We assessed the magnitude and precision of effects found in those large-scale RCTs commissioned by the UK-based Education Endowment Foundation and the U.S.-based National Center for Educational Evaluation and Regional Assistance, which evaluated interventions aimed at improving academic achievement in K-12 (141 RCTs; 1,222,024 students). The mean effect size was 0.06 standard deviations. These sat within relatively large confidence intervals (mean width = 0.30 SDs), which meant that the results were often uninformative (the median Bayes factor was 0.56). We argue that our field needs, as a priority, to understand why educational RCTs often find small and uninformative effects.
Descriptors: Randomized Controlled Trials, Educational Research, Effect Size, Program Evaluation, Intervention, Instructional Effectiveness, Elementary Secondary Education, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States; United Kingdom