In the for-profit business world, companies often conduct research in ways that give them a competitive edge. Data collected lead to the creation of products that are prized possessions, marketed to the public with great fanfare and with the hope that sales will generate income to support, among other things, future research activities.
While there is certainly competition for product sales in the education community as well, there is general consensus among education researchers that research data should be readily available to all, and that students (and their teachers) should be the ones with the "competitive edge," benefiting from research about teaching and learning to the greatest extent possible and in as timely a manner as possible.
When it comes to designing, implementing and disseminating research, partnerships and collaborations are the way to go. Working together, researchers, teacher preparation personnel, school district administrators, classroom educators and parents can ensure that knowledge about best practices is readily available, and that relevant topics are addressed in ways that give students the best chances of succeeding in school and as they transition to post-secondary and vocational settings.
To address nationally significant problems and issues in education, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement supports 12 university-based national educational research and development centers. The R&D centers address specific topics such as early childhood development and learning, student learning and achievement, cultural and linguistic diversity and second language learning, postsecondary improvement, adult learning and education policy. Each center works closely with a group of collaborating partners, which include elementary and secondary schools as well as postsecondary institutions.
To visit the individual R&D Center Web sites, see below:
- Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence
- Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk Johns Hopkins University
- Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing
- Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement
- Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy
- National Center for Early Development and Learning
- National Center for Improving Student Learning and Achievement in Mathematics and Science
- National Center for Postsecondary Improvement
- National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy
- National Center on Increasing the Effectiveness of State and Local Education Reform Efforts (NCIESLER)
- National Research & Development Center on English Learning and Achievement (CELA)
- National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented
Over the past decade, the Office of Educational Research and Improvement has supported a number of additional Research and Development Centers. Previous centers with current web sites include:
- Learning Research and Development Center
- Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools
- National Center on Adult Literacy
- National Center for Research on Teacher Learning
- National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy
Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D. is the Director of LD Resources & Essential Information at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.