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Learning and Instruction: A SERP Research Agenda
network would probably undertake a more thorough investigation of candidate opportunities, and it is likely to be shaped in significant measure by the opportunities that emerge for productive work in schools as SERP is launched. In particular, the link between cognition and context is likely to be better understood and incorporated into the developing agenda as the SERP work progresses.
ORGANIZATION OF THE REPORT
In describing our proposed agenda for research and development, we organize the work by domain. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 address reading, mathematics, and science in sequence. Each discipline is treated at some length because our purpose is to consider the program of research and development that would be required to strengthen the knowledge base on the entire set of questions that define teaching practice, as well as an understanding of the knowledge requirement for teachers of the subject. Because we focus so broadly, however, we do not go into depth in any single area. Readers looking for more depth are referred to other reviews intended for that purpose.
Structuring the program around the questions of practice as we propose brings coherence to the agenda, but it may tax the reader who finds the same issues of assessment or teacher knowledge treated similarly in three different chapters. We consider the repetition in the agenda important, however, because the state of the art in education research and development is one in which many of the most critical principles of instruction are understood at a general level, but the work of R&D to incorporate those principles into the teaching of individual subjects has not been done. That work must be repeated for each subject if learning and instruction are to be improved.
At a time when the quality of education research is a matter of heated debate not only among researchers, but also in the halls of Congress, careful consideration of methodological rigor and quality control are critical elements of a research agenda. The final chapter discusses how the proposed agenda addresses contemporary concerns about education research quality and impact. We also consider the extent to which proposed SERP features are required to effectively carry out that agenda.