Some subscribers to
MathEdCC might be interested in a recent post "Grover Whitehurst
Testifies Against Class Size Reduction" [Hake (2012)].
The abstract reads:
Ravitch in her blog entry "When Grover Whitehurst Testified
Against Class Size Reduction" at <http://bit.ly/QRniWu>
pointed to Leonie Haimson's <http://huff.to/12fHNyy>
"Grover Whitehurst's big pay day, testifying class size doesn't
matter" at <http://bit.ly/Vsp2T2> and asked: "DOES
CLASS SIZE MATTER? READ HAIMSON'S ACCOUNT AND REACH YOUR OWN
Haimson pointed out that:
a. According to
report by Will Weissert (2012a) at
<http://yhoo.it/VxrBCQ>, economist Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach <http://bit.ly/TVN6hv>
testified that students in smaller classes "tend to do better on
and even eventually become better citizens, more likely to own their
own homes and save for retirement" and that "study after
study shows that smaller classes often mean greater success for
"Experimental Evidence on the Effect of Childhood Investments on
Postsecondary Attainment and Degree Completion" [Dynarski et al.
(2011)] at <http://bit.ly/YRF0h7> showing that smaller classes
increased the rate of college attendance, especially among poor
students, and improved the probability of earning a college degree,
especially in high-earning fields such as science, technology,
engineering and mathematics; and (2) "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom
Affect Your Earnings? Evidence From Project Star" [Chetty et al.
<http://bit.ly/U7oJNn> showing that these students were also more likely to
own their own home and a 401K more than twenty years later.
b. Whitehurst & Chingos
(2011) wrote "Class Size: What Research Says and What it Means
for State Policy" [Chingos & Whitehurst (2011)] at
<http://bit.ly/VXroeA> which argued that LOWERING CLASS SIZE WAS
A WASTE OF MONEY despite admitting in the report that "very large
class-size reductions, on the order of magnitude of 7-10 fewer
students per class, can have significant long-term effects on student
achievement and other meaningful outcomes."
c. When Whitehurst
was at the US Department of Education from 2002-2008, he headed the
Institute of Education Sciences <http://ies.ed.gov/>, which in a
report "Identifying and Implementing Educational Practices
Supported by Rigorous Evidence: A User Friendly Guide" [USDE
(2003)] at <http://bit.ly/ds1sRS> cited CLASS SIZE REDUCTION AS
ONLY ONE OF FOUR EXAMPLES OF EDUCATION REFORMS "FOUND TO BE
EFFECTIVE in randomized controlled trials - research's 'gold
standard."[Yet] as the lead off witness for the state on Friday
Whitehurst argued that contrary to the claims of the plaintiffs,
"Texas is doing pretty good" and that these huge budget cuts
were immaterial because CLASS SIZE DOESN'T MATTER.
Stutz (2012) at <http://bit.ly/VXwA2l> reported in the
"Dallas Morning News": "State attorneys also have been
arguing that larger class sizes in Texas - the result of a $5.4
billion funding cut by the Legislature last year - have not hurt
students because CLASS SIZES DON'T AFFECT ACHIEVEMENT. Whitehurst
testified in support of that position. But again, under cross
examination by Dallas lawyer John Turner, Whitehurst had to
acknowledge that he wrote an article praising a well-publicized study
of lower class sizes in Tennessee that found significant improvement
in student achievement. Whitehurst explained that he had changed his
mind since writing the article and now has DOUBTS THAT CLASS SIZE HAS
MUCH IMPACT ON LEARNING. In later testimony, he said he was being paid
$340 an hour by the state to testify in the case, and had already
racked up 220 billable hours - for just under $75,000 - before he took
the witness stand."
e. Whitehurst racked up 220 billable hours? That means Whitehurst must
have worked nearly thirty 8-hour days on it. Wonder what took him so
To access the
complete 23 kB post please click on <http://bit.ly/VYtD1l>.
Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles: <http://bit.ly/a6M5y0>
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs:
Physics educators have led the way in developing and using objective
tests to compare student learning gains in different types of courses,
and chemists, biologists, and others are now developing similar
instruments. These tests provide convincing evidence that students
assimilate new knowledge more effectively in courses including active,
inquiry-based, and collaborative learning, assisted by information
technology, than in traditional courses."
- Wood & Gentile
"In science education, there is almost nothing of proven
- Grover Whitehurst,
as quoted by Sharon Begley (2004)
"Well-designed and implemented randomized controlled trials are
considered the 'gold standard' for evaluating an intervention's
effectiveness, in fields such as medicine, welfare and employment
policy, and psychology."
- USDE (2003)
"Scientifically rigorous studies - particularly, the 'gold
standard' of Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT''s) - are a mainstay of
medicine, providing conclusive evidence of effectiveness for most
major medical advances in recent history. In social spending, by
contrast, such studies have only a toehold. Where they have been used,
however, they have demonstrated the same ability to produce important,
credible evidence about what works - and illuminated a path to major
- Jon Barron (2012)
"In some quarters, particularly medical ones, the randomized
experiment is considered the causal 'gold standard.' It is clearly not
that in educational contexts, given the difficulties with implementing
and maintaining randomly created groups, with the sometimes incomplete
implementation of treatment particulars, with the borrowing of some
treatment particulars by control group units, and with the limitations
to external validity that often follow from how the random assignment
- Thomas Cook and Monique Payne
in "Evidence Matters" [Mosteller &
"According to the California Class Size Reduction Research
Consortium [CCSRRC (2002)], California's attempt to duplicate the
vaunted Tennessee RCT study of reduced class size benefits results
yielded *no conclusive evidence of increased student achievement*.
One reason appears to be that there were simply not enough teachers in
California to support any substantive class size reduction without
deterioration of teaching effectiveness."
- R.R. Hake (2009)
REFERENCES [URL's shortened by http://bit.ly/ and accessed on 10 Dec
Baron, J. 2012. "Applying Evidence to Social Programs." New
York Times, 29 Nov; online at
Begley, S. 2004.
"To Improve Education, We Need Clinical Trials To Show What
Works," Wall Street Journal, 17 December, page B1; online as a 41
kB pdf at <http://bit.ly/SSmaym>, thanks to David
"What We Have Learned About Class Size Reduction in California,
California Class Size Reduction Research Consortium [American
Institutes for Research (AIR), RAND, Policy Analysis for California
Education (PACE), WestEd, and EdSource]; full report online as a 9.5
MB pdf at <http://bit.ly/YRD5ZS>. A press release is online at
Hake, R.R. 2009. "A Response to 'It's Not All About Class Size',"
AERA-L post of 6 Feb 2009 09:42:04-0800; online on the OPEN! AERA-L
archives at <http://bit.ly/KBzuXV>. Post of 6 Feb 2009
09:42:04-0800 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the
complete post were also distributed to various discussion lists
and are also on my blog "Hake'sEdStuff" at
<http://bit.ly/LnAZu4> with a provision for comments.
Hake, R.R. 2012.
"Grover Whitehurst Testifies Against Class Size Reduction,"
online on the OPEN! online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at
<http://bit.ly/VYtD1l>. Post of 9 Dec 2012 18:34:56-0800 to
AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are
being transmitted to several discussion lists and are also on my blog
"Hake'sEdStuff" at <http://bit.ly/QS016H> with a
provision for comments.
Mosteller, F. & R. Boruch, eds. 2002. "Evidence Matters:
Randomized Trials in Education Research." Brookings Institution,
publisher's information at <http://bit.ly/UoX3sA>. Amazon.com
information at <http://amzn.to/n6T0Uo>. An expurgated Google
book preview is online at <http://bit.ly/RX1k3u>.
USDE. 2003. U.S.
Department of Education, "Identifying and Implementing
Educational Practices Supported by Rigorous Evidence: A User Friendly
Guide." Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for
Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, online as a 140 kB pdf
Wood, W.B., &
J.M. Gentile. 2003. "Teaching in a research context,"
Science 302: 1510; 28 November; online as a 213 kB pdf at
<http://bit.ly/SyhOvL> thanks to Portland State's