Scientifically Based Research

In 2001 President George Bush launched the No Child Left Behind Act in the USA.  Part of this act made a declaration that schools should only use teaching methods that have the support of  scientifically based research (SBR).  This is defined as  “research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures”.  One proponent of this approach said if someone tells you something works ask to see the numbers.  If they cannot show you numbers then it is not SBR.  Signs of this thinking are appearing in the UK.

The Scientific Model

The US authorities decided to impose medical research model on education.  This has a number of drawbacks. Einstein’s theory of relativity would have failed to pass the rigorous  research defined by the No Child Left Behind act.

Not everything that can be counted counts, not everything that counts can be counted.

Albert Einstein


Some things you cannot conveniently put into a lab and test; some things you cannot test with control groups and numbers. There are other ways of judging the veracity of a theory. Can the theory make predictions?  That is how the theory of relativity was first tested.  The theory predicted that light would bend round the moon.  They need a eclipse before they could make the prediction.