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Engineering for Effectiveness in Mathematics Education: Intervention at the Instructional Core in an Era of Common Core Standards


"In this paper we argue that by developing and deploying explicit means of "engineering [for] effectiveness", communities of practitioners and researchers can conduct ongoing local experiments in context, that include adequate design, technologically-enabled tools for real-time data collection and continuous analysis of patterns and trends. As new findings emerge, they can be shared across common communities of practice..."

Improvement of educational outcomes requires reexamination of approaches to "effectiveness". The following four ideas are used to frame that reexamination:

  1. Education must be viewed as a complex system, with interlocking parts.
  2. Bands and pockets of variability are expected, examined for causes and correlates, and used as sources of insight, rather than adjusted for, suppressed, or controlled.
  3. Causal or covarying cycles with feedback and interaction are critical elements of educational systems, in which learning is a fundamental process.
  4. Education should be treated as an organizational system that seeks, and is expected, to improve continuously.