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SREE, Advancing Education Research
Spring 2012 Conference: Understanding Variation in Treatment Effects
  Conference Concluded

Peter Schochet (Chair) Mathematica Policy Research   Sara Goldrick-Rab University of Wisconsin - Madison  Stephanie Jones Harvard University  James Kemple Research Alliance for New York City Schools  Dan Levy Harvard University  Henry May University of Pennsylvania   Michael Puma Chesapeake Research Associates  Sharon Vaughn University of Texas - Austin
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The impacts of educational reforms and interventions that aim to improve instructional practices and student learning are likely to differ across students, educators and schools. These potential differences in treatment effects have important implications for educational practice and influence the methods utilized to analyze experimental and quasi-experimental data. Information on what factors explain treatment heterogeneity may assist educators in determining the means to maximize the efficacy of changes in practice and facilitate the most efficient utilization of limited resources. Treatment heterogeneity also influences the correct model specification for impact estimation and the conditions required to identify and interpret important causal impact parameters. Variation in treatment effects and the fidelity of intervention implementation are also critical to assessing how impact findings from a particular study or set of studies may be generalized to broader educational environments.

The theme of the Spring 2012 SREE Conference, Understanding Variation in Treatment Effects, builds upon recent developments in the measurement and modeling of treatment heterogeneity in school-based evaluations. The focus of the conference will be the explication and application of methodological tools for assessing which intervention components work, the groups for whom they are best-suited, and how these results may inform educational practice. Widespread use of these methods will help establish a body of rigorous empirical evidence on the extent to which the effects of specific types of interventions vary across individuals, schools and settings, and provide insight into the mediating pathways and moderators associated with these effects.

Conference symposia, paper and poster presentations that further our understanding of treatment heterogeneity in education evaluations, and how this knowledge may be used in practice, will best fit this meeting. Research questions of interest include:

  1. What empirical evidence exists on the extent to which impacts vary across students, educators and schools in the United States, as well as internationally?
  2. How can practitioners use information on treatment heterogeneity to inform practice and program development?
  3. What statistical methods may be utilized to examine and test for heterogeneity?
  4. How may the design of impact evaluations be improved to better test for heterogeneity?
  5. Under what circumstances might causal inferences be made about factors that explain treatment heterogeneity, such as variation in implementation fidelity or other mediating outcomes?

Early Childhood Education
Classroom Instruction and Context
Teacher Preparation and Effectiveness
Post-Secondary Education
Education Policy
Evaluating Interventions in Developing Countries
Research Methods

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