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Required Article Notes

14 Pages

Course Code
PSYC 3800
Jen Lasenby- Lessard

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The growing (but still limited) importance of evidence in education policy and practice Amanda Cooper, Ben Levin & Carol Campbell Growing interest in research and evidence  ‘evidence-based decision making’ (EBDM) and evidence-based or evidence-informed policy and practice have become primary concerns  This rise in the role of evidence in policy and practice is the result of a number of factors: o the growth of an increasingly well-educated and well-informed public o the explosion in the availability of data of all types, fuelled by developments in information technology (IT) o the growth in size and capabilities of the research community o an increasing emphasis on productivity and international competitiveness o an increasing emphasis on scrutiny and accountability in the government  research evidence leads to more informed policy, higher-quality decisions, more effective practices, and, in turn, improved outcomes  criticisms of the evidence-based decision making (EBDM) approach o seeking to deny or downplay the realities of politics (technocratic) o criteria used to judge evidence o concern for appropriate balance between large-scale evidence and local contexts, diversity and complexities. o Some people complain that evidence and research are often political strategies that give the illusion of authority, objectivity and legitimacy to policy choices o lack of evidence showing that the use of evidence improves outcomes  critics themselves are advancing evidence in support of their own positions, and are also advocating the use of evidence to inform policy and practice in other areas of importance to them  critics’ real objections = to particular ways in which evidence is being defined or used  commitment to continuous improvement necessitates drawing on existing evidence and developing an ‘inquiry habit of mind Growing efforts to share and use research  Knowledge Mobilization - the creation of new institutions, support for changes in policy processes, and the establishment of international networks and partnerships  People get their knowledge of research not from reading the original studies, but through various mediating processes. National and international initiatives  Government policy documents in many countries now make explicit mention of the importance of research in formulating policy The United Kingdom  front runner in the field of knowledge mobilization  changes in funding and resource allocations that illustrate this governmental priority The United States  some US how school districts are struggling with the complexity and implications of EBDM  A number of US universities also operate ‘knowledge mobilization’ services of one kind or another, in which they make efforts to connect research to policy and practice  Knowledge Alliance  US also has a tradition of third party organizations involved in research and policy  Advocacy organizations establish new ways of sharing research as  primary purpose, unlike universities  2002  the US federal government established the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) as part of the US Department of Education with the explicit purpose of supporting a more evidence- based approach to education o Controversial because of narrow definition of what would count as evidence o “What Works Clearinghouse” - provides educators, policymakers, researchers, and the public with access to databases, research reports and reviews of effectiveness of interventions including programs, products, practices, and policies Canada  The national (federal) research funding councils have all increased their emphasis on research impact o More of a challenge in education because it is not as federally involved  third party organizations have been created in Canada to address the gap between evidence, policy and practice in education o ie. Canadian Education Association o & Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) –  informing Canadians about the state of learning in Canada  Fostering quality research on learning  Facilitating evidence-based decisions about learning through knowledge exchange to ensure that success stories are shared and repeated  Becoming Canada’s authoritative resource on learning issues  Provincial government support for evidence-based policy and practice in education has been more limited o Ontario Education Research Panel—OERP/CORE  about a dozen people from education research, policy and practice perspectives to foster collaboration amongst education stakeholders on research issues  advises parties on education research priorities  recommends opportunities for increasing the value and use of research. o annual Ontario Research Symposium  further foster networking among researchers, policy makers and practitioners on priority topics related to student achievement goals.  to improve connections between research, policy and practice in education International efforts  increased interest in building international research partnerships o ie. Campbell Collaboration  What helps? What harms? Based on what evidence?  Challenge because of differences across nations as to what constitutes as appropriate evidence o The European Commission – developed programs to build partnerships internationally on research use o The NORFACE (New Opportunities for Research Funding Co-operation in Europe) network – research councils from a dozen countries, organized an international seminar series aimed at utilizing research and evidence in the policy process o The European Network of Education Councils (EUNEC) - allows European education councils to collaborate on educational policy and practice What impact is this work having?  Many researchers and research institutions still have no organized approach to making their work readily available Issues and Challenges  the field of knowledge mobilization is inadequately conceptualized.  little is known about how practice organizations, whether governments or schools and school systems, find, share and use research.  little assessment of these efforts is occurring, so we do not know which of them are having a good effect  many different terms are being used o ‘knowledge mobilization’ - the use of knowledge is a social process,  ‘mobilization’ implies effort and direction, not just random interaction  the generation of new research when needed, the communication and application of established research knowledge, and the contextualization of research to suit particular environments  different frameworks to explain relationships between research and practice o common features:  recognize that the relationship involves the production of research (characteristics of the research)  largely done in academic institutions, the application of research, which largely takes place in service organizations (characteristics of the sites where research use is wanted)  a variety of links or moderators that lie between these two quite different contexts (characteristics of the linkages)  many scholars are unaware of quite relevant work in other countries or disciplines  research practices may be improved through: o better dissemination vehicles o use of new media o partnerships with schools  few organizations in education have any dedicated capacity for supporting research use or knowledge mobilization  tends to be something people do on top of everything else  Much of the empirical evidence on research use is based on surveys or interviews  cannot give the full picture needed of how people’s thinking and practice change in the face of new evidence (often aren’t consciously aware of this) o Also organizational practice is social so inquiry that focuses on individuals misses the powerful influence of norms and cultures on what people believe  lack of evaluation Conclusion: What next?  current research is not always the best guide to action  the importance of research evidence is growing in education o particularly given increasing public expectations for high quality public education alongside resource constraints that promote identification and implementation of effective practices.  3 important areas of action: 1. strengthen research efforts related to knowledge mobilization  more, better organized and coordinated research needed  better research tools required 2. research producing organizations should do more active knowledge mobilization work  would more fertile ground for the research efforts 3. the organizations that actually deliver education require more capacity to find, share, understand, and use research The Obviousness of Social and Educational Research Results Gage The Importance of the Obviousness Question  can influence the motivation of any person who is thinking about doing research The Charge of Obviousness Bilingualism: The good, the bad, and the indifferent ELLEN BIALYSTOK  experience has a powerful effect on cognitive performance and brain organization and structure.  The need to control attention to the target system in the context of an activated and competing system o the single feature that makes bilingual speech production most different from that of monolinguals o at the same time is responsible for both the cognitive and linguistic consequences of bilingualism Language Proficiency and Verbal Fluency: The Bad  bilinguals generally control a smaller vocabulary in each language than monolinguals o vocabulary size is a central measure of children’s progress in both the oral and literate forms of language development.  With a richer, more diverse vocabulary comes a more elaborate understanding of language  bilinguals have been shown to be slower in picture naming  obtain lower scores on verbal fluency tasks  encounter more tip of the tongue experiences  demonstrate poorer word identification through noise  experience more interference in lexical decision o potential views as to why:  bilinguals use each of their languages less often than monolinguals, creating “weaker links” among the relevant connections required for rapid and fluent speech production  the age of acquisition of the vocabulary in each language, with different outcomes depending on the age of L2 acquisition  competition from the corresponding item in the non-target language Conflict Resolution and Executive Control: The Good  bilingual language production requires the constant involvement of the executive control system to manage attention to the target language  enhances this system, making it stronger for other functions. o advantageous effect on the function of executive control. o Executive system = inhibition, shifting mental sets, and updating information in working memory  Bilingual children develop the ability to solve problems that contain conflicting or misleading cues at an earlier age than monolinguals.  Bilinguals have more executive control and better conflict resolution Free Recall and Working Memory: The Indifferent  Both language proficiency, especially in terms of lexical access, and attention control in terms of conflict resolution from competing systems are directly involved in bilingual speech production o working memory at least is normally considered to be part of the executive function  enhancement in executive control may boost the working memory  Bilinguals had worse free recall for verbal memory  no difference in performance on a simple working memory task for participants in the two language groups. The Bilingual Experience  bilingualism is an experience that has significant consequence for cognitive performance  nature and direction of that consequence is unclear  Studies investigating language proficiency and lexical retrieval show deficits for bilinguals in both the extent of their representational base and the efficiency with which specific lexical items can be retrieved.  Studies investigating executive control abilities show bilingual advantages throughout the lifespan, with these processes developing earlier in children, maintaining more efficient performance in adulthood, and declining less severely with aging.  Studies investigating memory abilities, both from the perspective of recall and working memory are more equivocal.  bilinguals are resolving verbal conflict with activation in two areas that monolinguals use to resolve nonverbal conflict  bilinguals have both more resources (Broca’s area) and more efficient resources (other frontal regions) for performing tasks that are based on nonverbal conflict  speech production in one of the languages is accompanied by conflict and pressure to select one of them from competing activated alternatives  speech–sign bilinguals performed exactly the same as the monolinguals on both trial types  no competing verbal languages o the conflict for selection between two active languages is central to the enhancement of executive control found in bilinguals  the bilinguals showed signs of dementia four years later than the monolinguals o the generalized power of bilingualism to sustain cognitive functioning even with the challenges of impending disease Measuring Creativity in Research and Practice - Barbara Kerr and Camea Gagliardi  Creativity is most critical to human advancement  the capacity to solve problems in new ways and to produce works that are novel, appropriate, and socially valued Measurement Issues to Consider  the definition of creativity may vary from one instrument to another o most researchers agree aspects of creativity are originality, appropriateness, and the production of works of value to society  they have had difficulty agreeing on appropriate instruments and methods in operationalizing these concepts. o Sternberg - creativity should not be considered in isolation from other constructs of human abilities  it is best understood in a societal context o Creativity questions existing societal agendas and proposes new ones, and wisdom balances the old with the new o the evaluation of creativity tests fare much better when considered in light of recent advances and when they are interpreted in light of limitations.  it is sometimes unclear what creativity instruments actually predict o In many cases, children identified by creativity measures have not produced significant creative works as adults o Plucker and Runco - when people engage in creative activity their thoughts and actions are guided by personal definitions of creativity and beliefs about how to foster and evaluate creativity that may be very different from the theories developed by creativity experts  Creating instruments that correspond well with the implicit theories of the people completing them addresses the definitional problem but also yields a socially valid technique for instrument design that is particularly sensitive to cross-cultural and discipline-specific research questions.  creativity always needs to be assessed in the context of other psychological and environmental variables o Csikszentmihalyi - characteristic of creative individuals is mastery of a domain of knowledge or skill  without this, diverse thinking or ideational fluency are not likely to lead to creative products  creative people seized on whatever opportunities they had been given and then shaped them to meet their own ends, rather than being shaped by genes or events.  concluded that the major distinguishing characteristic of creative people is the capacity to experience “flow” - that experience of timelessness and oneness with the activity in which one is engaged  they are caught up in the process of creating to enhance the flow state.  *life conditions enhance creativity o psychological conditions can block creativity  creative people often “live on the edge” and choose more independent lifestyles s may lead to substance abuse and other self-destructive behaviors that dull creativity  Pritkzer – creative people use alcohol because their work is uncertain and plagued by rejection, which is difficult, stressful, and anxiety- provoking.  a high proportion of creative writers, artists, and musicians suffer from symptoms of mood disorders (bipolar disorder)  whatever gifts that moderate manic states might bestow on the individual, manic psychosis and depression destroy all motivation and productivity o environmental variables interact in important ways with cognitive variables to produce creative behavior  The presence of patrons  the support of a subculture of creative individuals  the possibility of freedom of expression  the availability of materials and resources necessary for creative products  Gender, race, and class can all be barriers to the expression of creativity  Amabile - componential model of creativity proposes three major components of creativity—skills specific to the task domain, general creativity relevant skills, and task motivation Using Measures Appropriately  Different creativity tests measure different constructs within the complex intellectual and affective concept of creativity o problems arise when one measure is inappropriately compared against another.  Torrance - creativity should not be the sole criterion for decision making o multiple talents should be evaluated, and culturally different individuals should be given tasks that evaluate the kinds of excellence that are valued by the particular culture or subculture of the individuals being evaluated.  Hocevar and
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