Monday, January 09, 2006

Education Research: Where's the Beef?

Thanks to Intelligent Insights for finding this report of a decline in educational intervention research (in one journal, from 33% to 4%) over the past decade.

Excerpt: "Our findings reveal that over the past 10 years, the incidence of intervention research reported in primary research journals has declined, and the typical intervention study was brief (lasting less than 1 day), included adults rather than children, assessed intervention effects immediately following the intervention rather than a more extended period of time, and did not evaluate treatment integrity."

That is a problem.

The lack of knowledge of educational alternatives leaves teachers and students in the lurch. We can't help but thinking this contributes to some early teacher frustration and the high attrition rate (20% of new teachers leave by the end of the first year, half within five years NEA). It's not fair that teachers have all the pressure of meeting standards and high stakes testing, if they don't know how to deal with some of the differences in wiring with the kids in their classrooms.

From our clinical work, we've met many teachers who are seem hungry for practical information regarding brain-based learning techniques and strategies (the reason for our book), and they're the ones who can influence generations of students.

Also we shouldn't forget that an educational training that neglects practical information about different educational interventions, might also contribute to overdiagnosis or attribution of behavioral problems like ADD.

Who is most likely to make the first suggestion of a diagnosis of ADHD?

BTW, teacher "over-diagnosing" has been seen to increase with total class size (see reference below), and in one study, the extent of over-diagnosing was great: almost one-fourth of teachers estimated that 16-25% their students had ADHD, compared to the more generally accepted national incidence of 5%.

Another tidbit to ponder...why did the MTA Study look at medical and behavioral interventions for ADHD, but not environmental or educational intervention?

Who First Suggests the Diagnosis of ADHD?
Teacher perceptions of ADHD
Teaching: Between the Idea and the Reality Falls the Shadow

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