How Should Evidence Inform Education Policy?

Authored by: Kathryn E. Joyce , Nancy Cartwright

Handbook of Philosophy of Education

Print publication date:  October  2022
Online publication date:  October  2022

Print ISBN: 9781032000053
eBook ISBN: 9781003172246
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores how evidence from various sources can support education policy decisions. Although policy arguments include some normative premises, we focus on the evidence needed to support their descriptive premises, homing in on predictions about how candidate policies are likely to perform in specific target sites. Although evidence from RCTs is viewed as the gold-standard, the chapter argues that it is insufficient and unnecessary for predictions about education policies. Trustworthy predictions require information about how the policy operates, the conditions under which it can do so, and the conditions present in the target setting, which comes from a mix of research methods, theory, and local sources. This evidence is also useful for feasibility assessments and implementation planning.

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