U.S. Education Department And Organization For Economic Cooperation And Development Hold International Meeting On Evidence-Based Education

April 20, 2004

“Today’s meeting reflects a growing international recognition of the critical need to build scientifically valid knowledge about which educational programs and strategies work and which don’t work,” said IES Director Grover Whitehurst. “It also represents a unique opportunity to forge working relationships among policymakers and researchers in the OECD countries to carry out the rigorous research needed to build that knowledge. Therefore, I believe this meeting can make a major contribution to the Department’s efforts to transform education into an evidence-based field.”

The No Child Left Behind Act has created a strong demand among schools and districts in the United States for research-proven practices that they can use to meet the act’s accountability requirements, as well as its provision that federally-funded projects be backed by scientifically based research. That demand has highlighted the need for rigorous research in education, and helped mobilize the education research community both in the United States and abroad.

Meeting participants included senior education officials and researchers from Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Meeting participants explored such issues as:

  • How can governments systematically evaluate what works in education and use the results to improve educational policy and practice?
  • Which study designs are most likely to yield valid answers to questions about the effectiveness of an educational program or strategy?
  • What approaches to evidence-based policy research have been undertaken in the various OECD countries?

The meeting was hosted by the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy. The Coalition is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, sponsored by the Council for Excellence in Government, with the mission to advance government policy based on rigorous evidence of program effectiveness.

The Department will shortly post a Web cast video of the meeting on the Institute of Education Sciences’ Web site at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ies/. The Web cast, as well as the speakers’ presentations and papers, can also be downloaded from the meeting Web site at http://www.excelgov.org/displayMainSection1.asp?Keyword=prppcEvidence.