Bringing Rigor to Relevant Questions
Put simply, the dichotomy of rigor versus relevance is false. There is no inevitable trade-off between producing rigorous research and producing research with relevance for the real world. Researchers who want their work to matter in policy and practice should begin by identifying the questions of greatest relevance and then bring the highest standards of theoretical and methodological rigor to those questions.
Promoting Research That Is Both Rigorous and Relevant
We recognize that no single effort will be transformative, but we hope that our collective efforts as researchers, research funders, universities, and professional associations can support research that, over the long term, improves the lives of young people.
Integrating Rigor and Relevance in Research: Three Questions
How can research to improve the lives of youth in the United States also benefit the other 95 percent of the world’s youth? Questions like this highlight the urgency of bringing the highest levels of rigor to relevant research.
Learning English in the Era of the Every Student Succeeds Act
By moving accountability systems from the federal to the state level and highlighting the importance of English learner progress in accountability, ESSA provides an opportunity to develop state accountability systems that better support the learning of ELs. Assessments and data are critical pieces of these systems—future research focusing on these areas promise to yield a more nuanced picture of how ELs are doing and why, as well as what can be done to spur and sustain their academic progress.
Toward New Research and New Data
Strengthening practice and policy in state and local education systems will be an essential part of reducing inequality for young people in the coming years. And a fundamental piece of the effort to raise student outcomes will be building and testing approaches that states and districts can adopt to effectively meet the needs of English learners.
Meditations on Language and Learning: ESSA in Policy and Practice
As we approach policy changes that present important opportunities for researchers, I would like to share some “meditations” about language, as well as the worlds of education policy and practice, which I have repeated to myself over the years as I’ve worked in these areas.