Randomised controlled trials in schools: blunt instrument or better by design?

school pencil

Education is in the midst of the 'what works' age, heralded by the rapid rise of the school-based randomised controlled trial (RCT).  In the last 6 years, the Education Endowment Foundation alone have funded close to 100 RCTs, involving nearly one third of all schools in England.  However, the rise of the RCT in education has been controversial to say the least.  In this seminar, adopting the position of a 'critical insider' and drawing upon my experience in leading and collaborating on numerous large scale school-based RCTs, I will attempt to provide a balanced account of what has become a central debate in educational research.  I will argue that in order for the field to move forward, we need to go beyond the basic question of what works to ask (following Slavin) howwhyfor whom, and in what contexts and circumstances?

All are welcome to attend; please arrive early to guarantee a seat.