Some Considerations in the Experimental Design and Evaluation of Educational Innovations.

by Marjorie L. Rapp, J. G. Root, Gerald C. Sumner

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The evaluator's task is to relate inputs (in education, the student and school characteristics) to outputs (cognitive or affective changes). The evaluation design is determined by the purpose: to aid decisionmakers in adopting programs, for program improvement, or for better understanding of the educative process. The school information system should be designed specifically for evaluation and resource analysis. Experimental design essentially consists of organizing the observation of various alternatives, and specifying criteria and instruments of measurement that distinguish between program and nonprogram effects. Planning for large-scale application of successful results should proceed alongside research planning, to keep innovations practical in terms of real-world constraints. Thus, random selection is preferable to using volunteer subjects. Nonquantitative as well as quantitative program goals must be evaluated even if new measures must be invented for that purpose. Innovative instructional programs may require innovative evaluation techniques. 12 pp. Ref.

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