The pressure is on. As a nation, we are asking teachers and administrators to bring all students to high standards of achievement, and we are holding them accountable. By raising the stakes for demonstrating better student outcomes, we have created a desperate need for information on how to achieve these challenging new goals. Everyone seems to agree that it is time for education researchers to deliver the kind of systematic knowledge that policymakers and practitioners need to do the job the nation is asking of them.
Nowhere has faith in the value of research for informing policy and practice been more forcefully expressed than in the nation’s capital. The U.S. Department of Education’s recent strategic plan claims that “we will change education to make it an evidence-based field.” Indeed, “scientifically based practice” has become the constant refrain of the Bush administration.