Innovation Center Serves as “Test Tube” to Validate Instructional Programs

New York, NY – June 1, 2010 – “Shooting in the dark” is what U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says school districts are doing if they don’t capture “real, quality data at the state and district level to track students from preschool through higher education.” As Duncan moves forward with the Obama Administration’s school reform plan, it’s clear that data-driven decision making is a key component to drive student success.

The scientifically research-based curriculum materials created by the education services and technology company Pearson align side-by-side with the Education Secretary’s priorities. Research-based instruction with embedded assessment coupled with Pearson’s efficacy studies conducted by leading educational research organizations represent an unmatched combination that provides schools the quality programs aimed at ensuring success for all students – whether they be on level, advanced, struggling and at-risk, or the nation’s growing number of English language learners (see video).

Randomized Control Trials – the Gold Standard in Research
Pearson’s director of academic research Marcy Baughman said, “Our research base and third party efficacy studies are the hallmarks of our Pearson products. Pearson has a history of ensuring that its curriculum programs in all disciplines – math, reading, English and language arts, science and social studies – are supported by a wealth of data before they ever enter the classroom, meeting state and federal funding requirements that call for proven, research-based educational content.” Baughman said that Pearson is the only educational content provider that consistently employs randomized control trials – the gold standard in research – across all disciplines to determine curriculum effectiveness in the classroom.

Pearson evaluates the impact of its curricula on student learning by engaging independent third-party research firms and working with school districts across the nation to conduct efficacy studies designed to meet the rigorous standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse. These summative research studies — which occur after implementation in the classroom and assess a program upon its completion — objectively determine the effectiveness of the program while also examining best practices and instructional techniques that enable educators to use the programs with the most success.

Educators Look for Research-based Instruction
“Educators are looking for scientifically based evidence that demonstrates a program can meet the needs of different kinds of learners and help them progress. Due to the abundance of educational programs available, educators need data upon which they can base their curricula decisions,” said Dr. Mariam Azin, president of Planning Research and Evaluation Services (PRES) Associates, an independent education research firm that studies the effectiveness of educational programs nationally.

Dr. Azin recently conducted a research study that examined the efficacy of enVisionMATH, Pearson’s elementary mathematics curriculum, with resounding results. “In all of my years conducting educational program efficacy studies, I have never seen consistency in results across all different student populations as I saw with the enVisionMATH curriculum. In our study, we found that the enVisionMATH students significantly outperformed the students who used other math programs on all three national assessments in the three areas of math computation, math problem solving and communication, and math vocabulary,” said Azin.

The “Test Tube” – Innovation Center at Pearson’s Usability Lab
That high quality result is directly linked to two key factors: Pearson’s commitment to hiring the nation’s leading content experts as program authors; and Pearson’s dedication to rigorous, extensive formative research that evaluates programs and products during the planning and delivery process. Much of this formative research is conducted at the Usability Lab in Pearson’s Innovation Center.

Shawn Mahoney, Pearson’s instructional design head, oversees the research conducted at the Usability Lab. “Usability research is a fundamental principle of Pearson’s design, development and research because it provides an opportunity to have a collaborative dialogue with teachers and students to produce customized learning solutions,” said Mahoney.

Mahoney added, “The work that we do in the Usability Lab is important because it is an opportunity to change the way we think and learn in American schools. With this information, we can create individualized learning solutions for each student and directly inform the design and research of all Pearson products.”

For more information, visit Click here to view the video of Pearson’s research in action, or go to:
About Pearson
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education services, technology and school solutions, provides innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. Pearson’s other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information about Pearson School, go to

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