Numbers and data have a growing influence in educational policy-making at the local, national and international levels. Large-scale assessments are increasingly used for monitoring and accountability; randomized controlled trials are considered the ‘gold standard’ in assessing the effects of educational policies, with important implications for resource allocation. This course is an introduction to the uses of quantitative research in comparative, international and development education. The goal is for students to be able to read, understand, critique and synthesize quantitative evidence, and to formulate policy recommendations on key educational debates. We will read empirical research on topics such as privatization of schooling, international large-scale assessments (PISA, PIRLS, TIMSS, etc.), school segregation, vocational education, decentralization, private tutoring and gender inequality. We will compare economic versus sociological approaches to quantitative comparative research in terms of major underlying theories and assumptions and how these guide methods and analyses. Students will learn how to evaluate which evidence is credible, including what to look for in high-quality sampling, measurement, assessment, analysis and interpretation. No background in statistics or quantitative research methods is required.
Leadership, Higher and Adult Education