Firstly, thanks for all those who took part in #sciteachjc last Tuesday. It was a great start to the year and got quite a bit of attention building up to the meeting not least from one of the paper’s authors:
Secondly, Alom doesn’t think people read to the bottom of blog posts ;), so I’ll post up the date of the next meeting at the top. The next meeting will be held 12th February and @teachingofsci will be your host. The topic is yet to be confirmed, however we’re aiming to do something that is able to have an immediate impact on your teaching the next day in the classroom.
A summary of the discussion on RCTs: (we had 222 tweets during the hour we were discussing)
@DrRacheal opened with the elephant in the room:
In reality, RCTs are used in educational research. However it was interesting to consider whether teachers could run them within school.
The responses to the first question: Would you consider running or taking part in a randomised control trial in your school?
@alomshaha raised the concerns of a few people involved in the discussion:
@ryansecondarysc responded with a similar point to that made in the Radio 4 documentary:
This was also backed up by @teachingofsci
Both @teachingofsci and @miss_mcinerney suggested that RCTs might not be appropriate to run within school due to practicalities.
This was concurred by others in the discussion. The general feeling so far is that implementing an RCT within a school is problematic.
The idea raised by @bio_joe
suggested that the different classes assigned to teachers might be suitable as samples, but in general it was felt the sample size would be too small, and that the samples wouldn’t be randomly picked. Indeed @miss_mcinerney made this point:
and DrRacheal this:
What about between schools?
There were some great ideas about the design of RCTs, mainly between @miss_mcinerney and @teachingofsci e.g.
but @ryansecondarysc and @miss_mcinerney pointed out that this would no longer be an RCT.
and @tom_hartley added
We focused again on the ethics with question two What concerns do you have with the ethical considerations of using RCTs in educational research?
@oldandrewuk was concerned about whether teachers would be happy to take part in an RCT:
@Bio_joe pointed out that :
and I added:
@miss_mcinerney made the point that
to which I coined a new phrase (we think)
I highlighted some that I’d seen, but hadn’t had a chance to read fully:
and @teachingofsci said:
Final question: Which educational intervention would you like to see more evidence for, in the form of RCTs (or other methodology)?
@alomshaha suggested his favourite topic:
but we descended (no thanks to me) into a discussion on ensuring that teachers were aware of any research that had been done and the lack of open availability to research.
Here is a selection of the links posted by @teachingofsci during the discussion
- Effect sizes: http://www.teacherstoolbox.co.uk/T_effect_sizes.html
- What works: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/
- Discussion on RCTs in US: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20090049/section_2.asp
- Petty: http://www.geoffpetty.com/research.html
- doceo: http://www.learningandteaching.info/teaching/what_works.htm
There are loads of other valid points that were made, and @bio_joe, @oldandrewuk and @ryansecondarysc carried on the discussion afterwards. In all a good start to the year, and remember the next meeting on the 12th February. (Did you get to the bottom of the post?)
Here is a full Storify archive compiled by @eyebeams (thanks):