Improving the Impact of Educational Research

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  • 1 University of Delaware

How can research have a larger impact on educational practice? What kinds of research can have the greatest impact on educational practice? These are perennially thought-provoking questions for mathematics education researchers (e.g., Battista et al., 2007; Boerst et al., 2010; Heck et al., 2012; Heid et al., 2006; Herbel-Eisenmann et al., 2016; Langrall, 2014; Silver, 2003) as well as educational researchers more broadly (Kane, 2016; Snow, 2016). In recent years, educational researchers have lamented the failure of educational research to have a transformative effect on educational practice despite repeated reform efforts. One might be tempted to adapt a motto of the Reformation, Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda, to describe the history of education: reformed and always reforming. Payne (2008) systematically reported the persistence of failure in urban schools despite “so much reform.” However, the failed impact of educational research on practice goes far beyond urban schools (Bryk, Gomez, Grunow, & LeMahieu, 2015). We are forced to ask, how can the field of educational research improve its impact on practice?

Journal for Research in Mathematics Education


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