Some subscribers to
Math-Teach might be interested in a recent post "The Randomistas'
War On Global Poverty (was Chocolate Makes You Smart) [Hake (2012)].
The abstract reads:
ABSTRACT: In my post
"Chocolate Makes You Smart!" [Hake (2012a)] at
<http://bit.ly/QheB7E>, I wrote: "While awaiting Randomized
Control Trials (RCT's) in which the inhabitants of randomly selected
countries are provided with placebos in place of chocolate. . . . ."
In response Kevin Laws of the Physoc list pointed to: (a) a movement
called the 'Randomistas' led by MIT economist Esther Duflo
<http://bit.ly/TpiswJ>, which holds that RCT's are neither
"impossible nor immoral in the social sciences, but instead are
required"; and (b) the fact that the Randomistas "have been
responsible for resolving a number of long-standing philosophical
debates with actual RCT data - the effectiveness of mosquito nets, for
Although RCT's may
be the gold standard in medicine and global-poverty-reduction research
by the Randomistas, they are certainly not that in education research
generally - see e.g., (a) "Randomized Control Trials: The Strange
Case of the Contradictory Graphs" [Hake (2012b)] at
<http://bit.ly/TQdfhX>; (b) "A Response to 'It's Not All
About Class Size' " [Hake (2009)] at
<http://bit.ly/KBzuXV>; and (c) the present signature quote.
Nevertheless, RCT's seem to have been used effectively in education
research by the Randomistas according to information at
Despite the Randomista's concern for education, there's no indication
that the "Center for Economic and Policy Research" (CEPR)
<http://bit.ly/U1DTSU>, for which Duflo is a Program Director
for Developmental Economics <http://bit.ly/VgQ3y8>, is aware of
the overriding influence of poverty on the educational achievement of
U.S. children, as emphasized in many references in the present post.
This despite the fact that, according to information at
<http://bit.ly/U1DTSU>, CEPR is concerned in part with
"gaps in the social policy fabric of the U.S. economy."
To access the
complete 21 kB post please click on <http://bit.ly/V93tXl>.
Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles: <http://bit.ly/a6M5y0>
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs:
"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 is achieved."
- Thomas Cook and Monique Payne in
REFERENCES [URL shortened by <http://bit.ly/> and accessed on 29
Hake, R.R. 2012a.
"The Randomistas' War On Global Poverty (was Chocolate Makes You
Smart)" online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at
<http://bit.ly/V93tXl>. Post of 29 Nov 2012 14:27:16-0800 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
<http://bit.ly/Rm6Oqw> with a provision for
Hake, R.R. 2012b.
"Chocolate Makes You Smart!" online on the OPEN! AERA-L
archives at <http://bit.ly/QheB7E>. Post of 24 Nov 2012
10:34:31-0800 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/10Nkcoa> with a provision for
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