Monday, May 07, 2007

Levine on Educational Research

From Inside Higher Ed:
May 7
Filling the Void
“Form triumphs over substance.”

If Arthur Levine’s 92-page report, “Educating Researchers,” could be condensed into a sentence, that would be it. The report, released today, is the third in a series written by Levine, president emeritus of Columbia University’s Teachers College and now president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, where he has continued his inquiries into the state of teacher education.

Now he has turned his focus to the quality of research at education schools, and the methods and practices passed on to aspiring researchers in education doctoral programs — programs that, Levine told Inside Higher Ed, are more interested in the “form” of handing out doctorates than the “substance” of good research to back them up.

More here, or go directly to the report.


Michael Moore said...

I read this report with interest. I am no fan of AL but I have to give him his due. He's on the money in this report. What he reports about our degree granting programs and about the quality of research is what I've been thinking for a long time. I even agree with his recommendations except I'd add a few more.

He described my institution to a T as the regional research intensive example he used. We have no business granting the degrees we do. Our programs (leadership and curriculum studies are insipid)...we lack faculty resources and for every decent dissertation there are ten that are a waste of paper and I'm being generous.

Our research is not taken seriously and for good reason and not because it isn't scientifically based either. It's because by and large a lot of what I see published is often poor regardless of the methodology.

Don Zancanella said...

Michael--One reservation I have about the report is that I think some of his critique would apply just as much to other departments and disciplines. I sometimes sit on dissertation committees outside education and have found the dissertations outside education to be pretty comparable quality-wise to those from education. I don't completely buy the idea that education has huge quality problems that other parts of the university are untouched by.

Michael Moore said...

I agree...I've had the same experience with outside education committees. However, I think what he says must also apply to those programs as well. I was struck by how little ed research is regarded. To me, that's our own fault. I am sorry to be so critical lately but I have sat on a couple committees this spring that were awful and I plan to get free from them as soon as I can. I think we should focus on being the premier masters granting institution we could be with as sharp a focus on teaching quality as we can.