Site URL: www.rand.org/education
Content: Part of the larger nonprofit research institution RAND Corporation, RAND Education’s mission is to bring accurate data and objective analysis to education policy. With a staff of more than 50 experts from a wide range of disciplines, RAND Education has applied its university-quality research expertise to almost every aspect of the education system. For users wanting to deeply explore the evidence base for everything from education policy to instructional practices, this site is the go-to destination.
Design: The education section is actually part of a larger RAND site. In order to find content aside from the few features items on the Education homepage, users must go through the somewhat clumsy step of using the Research Areas dropdown in the top bar, and then choosing the Education and the Arts research area.
Once users get to this point, the page is dense, with quite a bit to take in. A helpful right-hand “Narrower Topics” list covers a broad range of issues such as Academic Achievement, Arts Education, Early Childhood Education, Education Reform, Educational Administration, Program Evaluation, Technology, School Violence and Teachers & Teaching. Clicking on one of these topics brings up a wealth of research briefs, journal articles, reports and news releases. The entire library consists of more than 1,000 items, concentrated mostly on reports and journal articles.
Review: RAND's research interests are vast, resulting in a collection of reports that include everything from a multi-year evaluation study on implementation of schoolwide performance bonuses in New York City, to a report detailing how investment in summer learning programs can help stop the “summer slide.” All electronic content is free, with printed versions of some items available for purchase. In terms of journal articles, content is typically limited to article abstracts, with a few full articles available.
Bottom Line: While educators would have to set aside a decent block of time to adequately explore RAND Education, there’s no question that they will discover quality, in-depth content covering a wide range of educational research topics. Administrators in particular will find many practical lessons that can help with decision-making and long-range planning.