Poor causal thinking about education research

Sally Larsen

Disclaimer: nothing about what I’m saying below is new. I have been influenced by the ideas of many excellent people that I’ve encountered along the way (thank you twitter). These people include Julia Rohrer whose work on causal inference in psychology is excellent, Richard McElreath whose online videos are seriously entertaining (if you like statistics), Shadish, Cook & Campbell (whose book is noted below), and several other articles I’ve read over the years mainly in the realm of behaviour genetics and psychology. Oh and of course the hundreds of hours of Quantitude I’ve listened to 🙂


I feel like the online algorithms are sending me more articles just recently about ways to make improvements to educational outcomes. This is a pretty broad area so let me try and narrow down with some examples. What I’m talking about are articles which claim, for example, any given intervention in a school…

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