Kathleen Lynch, Postdoctoral Fellow, Annenberg Institute at Brown University
Professional development and curriculum materials constitute two major vehicles for instructional innovation and improving student outcomes. Following calls in the early 2000s by influential scholars for stronger research into the impact of educational interventions, research portfolios at the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) began to reflect a growing interest in research methods that allow causal inference, and in using student outcomes as an indicator of program success. Dollars’ and scholars’ turn in this direction has resulted in a wealth of new studies in the past 15 years that permit rigorous empirical analyses linking program characteristics to student outcomes. Lynch will present a meta-analysis of preK-12 STEM instructional improvement programs, seeking to understand what content, formats, and activities lead to stronger student outcomes. This work is particularly timely, as the Every Student Succeeds Act requires that districts receiving Title I funds must adopt “evidence-based interventions,” including programs and strategies proven to be effective in raising student achievement.