Put the D in R & D: Developing design-based interventions

As Anthony Bryk and others have pointed out, there is much more investment in educational research (both basic and more applied) than in educational development. Investing in development would mean designing sets of classroom materials and routines that address our highest priority instructional needs and would be piloted, iterated, refined, and shared. Work might also flow in the other direction: groups might try to develop instructional activities or routines for lots of schools and classrooms, and then use continuous improvement processes to improve the reliability and consistency of these lessons across classrooms.

Statway and Quantway, the community college developmental math pathways developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, are a model here. These curriculum, assessment, and instructional resources were developed to solve a critical instructional problem – students being unable to progress through higher education because could not pass poorly taught remedial math courses. They were designed by a network of practitioners, and are now broadly available to community colleges facing this problem.

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