Current Projects

Knowledge for Use [K4U] – 2015-2021
Making the Most of Social Science to Build Better Policies

Principal Investigator – Nancy Cartwright
This innovative, interdisciplinary and multi-institutional ERC funded research project that weaves together six case studies and two research streams. The case studies and the research streams work collaboratively to develop evidence and theory to help fortify policies.
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Centre of Excellence for Development (CEDIL)
Prof. Cartwright is a member of the intellectual leadership team for the Centre of Excellence for Development (CEDIL), Impact and Learning at the Department for International Development (DFID).

The Center for Ethics & Education, Research Grant – Funded April 2016
Meeting our Standards for Educational Justice: Making the Most of the Evidence
Principal Investigator – Nancy Cartwright
Recent work on educational justice observes that the U.S. has shifted from conceiving equal educational opportunities as equal resources, or inputs, for all students to calling for adequacy standards, a threshold level of outcomes that the state must ensure all students reach. Though many view Common Core as an improved set of outcomes to aim for, they will only lead to greater educational justice if those outcomes are actually achieved. Unfortunately, many schools nation-wide consistently fail to meet standards, including Common Core. Educational justice requires more than a new set of standards. It requires support for educators so they are able to assist students in meeting them. To this end, there has been a significant push to incorporate scientific evidence into deliberation about educational practices. This should lead to improvements and a more just distribution of outcomes. Unfortunately, evidence-based policy in education has not resulted in the improvements hoped for. We aim to provide tools that educators can use to make the most of evidence about what works in education. Evidence from RCTs and other studies about what has worked elsewhere is only a starting point for estimating whether a policy/practice will work here, for this class. Our goal is to investigate kinds of evidence that may help in making reliable predictions about what will work in particular local contexts. We aim for a catalog of evidence types that is both well-grounded and readily intelligible to educators deliberating about what to do in their setting.