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Steven L. Kramer

Block scheduling is not a new phenomenon. It has been widely used in British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta since the 1970s. In the United States, block schedules have become increasingly popular throughout the 1990s, and currently they are spreading to high schools in many regions.

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Steven L. Kramer and Regina Keller

This “Brief Report” summarizes results from a study that investigated joint effects of two innovations adopted at a high school in an affluent suburban community in the northeast United States: 4 × 4 block scheduling and the Standards-based curriculum, the Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP). By the end of 12th grade, cohorts of students who had studied IMP under a block schedule scored higher on most measures of mathematics achievement than had earlier cohorts of students who had studied a traditional high school mathematics curriculum under a traditional schedule. This article also describes actions taken by the school to build capacity before adopting the reforms. The results can be seen as an “existence proof” of what can happen when these reforms are adopted jointly at a site that has put considerable effort into building capacity to implement them well.

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer, James Hiebert and Arthur Bakker

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer, James Hiebert and Arthur Bakker

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer and James Hiebert

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer and James Hiebert

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer and James Hiebert

In 2002, the National Research Council (NRC) released Scientific Research in Education, a report that proposed six principles to serve as guidelines for all scientific inquiry in education. The first of these principles was to “pose significant questions that can be investigated empirically” (p. 3). The report argued that the significance of a question could be established on a foundation of existing theoretical, methodological, and empirical work. However, it is not always clear what counts as a significant question in educational research or where such questions come from. Moreover, our analysis of the reviews for manuscripts submitted to JRME 1 suggests that some practical, specific guidance could help researchers develop a significant question or make the case for the significance of a research question when preparing reports of research for publication.

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer and James Hiebert

In our March editorial (Cai et al., 2019), we discussed the nature of significant research questions in mathematics education. We asserted that the choice of a suitable theoretical framework is critical to establishing the significance of a research question. In this editorial, we continue our series on high-quality research in mathematics education by elaborating on how a well-constructed theoretical framework strengthens a research study and the reporting of research for publication. In particular, we describe how the theoretical framework provides a connecting thread that ties together all of the parts of a research report into a coherent whole. Specifically, the theoretical framework should help (a) make the case for the purpose of a study and shape the literature review; (b) justify the study design and methods; and (c) focus and guide the reporting, interpretation, and discussion of results and their implications.

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer and James Hiebert

In our recent editorials (Cai et al., 2019a, 2019b), we discussed the important roles that research questions and theoretical frameworks play in conceptualizing, carrying out, and reporting mathematics education research. In this editorial, we discuss the methodological choices that arise when one has articulated research questions and constructed at least a rudimentary theoretical framework. Just as the researcher must justify the significance of research questions and the appropriateness of the theoretical framework, we argue that the researcher must thoroughly describe and justify the selection of methods. Indeed, the research questions and the theoretical framework should drive the choice of methods (and not the reverse). In other words, a sufficiently well-specified set of research questions and theoretical framework establish the parameters within which the most productive methods will be selected and developed.

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer and James Hiebert

Although often asked tactfully, a frequent question posed to authors by JRME reviewers is “So what?” Through this simple and well-known question, reviewers are asking: What difference do your findings make? How do your results advance the field? “So what?” is the most basic of questions, often perceived by novice researchers as the most difficult question to answer. Indeed, addressing the “so what” question continues to challenge even experienced researchers. All researchers wrestle with articulating a convincing argument about the importance of their own work. When we try to shape this argument, it can be easy to fall into the trap of making claims about the implications of our findings that reach beyond the data.