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Customer Review

136 of 149 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Marzano - A successful fraud, March 24, 2007
This review is from: Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (Paperback)
I went to the trouble of checking a number of key references. Here's what I discovered:
A. Every single reference I checked was itself dubious or misrepresented by the authors.
B. Some of the references were on topics unrelated to the instructional strategies cited.
B. Some of the numbers from published data were altered to better conform to the author's point of view.
C. Some of the references themselves presented provisional conclusions based on weak results, but were given complete credence by Marzano et al.
D. The authors took weak data from several studies, each based on averaging the results from studies assumed to use similar methods and subject cohorts, and averaged these, compounding the statistical weaknesses. This is especially shocking given that no credible researcher would combine results from studies by different groups that clearly use different methodologies and subject cohorts.

Noone should regard this book as a description of research-based strategies. In fact, the publisher should withdraw the book as it misrepresents fiction as fact.

This is not to say these strategies do not work. However, there is little or no valid research to support any statement that they offer any improvement over direct instruction.

As time has passed since I first posted a similar review, the so-called "Marzano Strategies" have continued to gain traction even among education professionals at the college level. Presumably this is because "Marzano Strategy" is easy to remember and has a certain auditory potency. It illustrates, however, the dangers of uncritical and indiscriminate acceptance of ideas and strategies we want to believe in. There is a huge difference between "teacher-tested" and "research-based". The authors have clearly committed intellectual fraud in their wildly successful bid to sell books and make a name for themselves by passing off teacher-tested ideas as research-based.
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Showing 1-10 of 59 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 23, 2009, 6:47:40 AM PDT
Thank you, Daniel Wexler. It's long been my contention that Marzano, et al have low friends in high places, especially in my district. We are all required to read this tripe, and use it to "inform" our educational plan. I, for one, am tired of claptrap that masquerades as a new improved mouse trap. Jingoism and boosterism will never improve education, no matter how many us mindlessly get on the train and chant the slogan. Both have a long history of failure, and even dangerous results. Faked, cherry-picked, misread, and misapplied research have led to tragedies when applied to education and politics, and since education informs politics, I think it's appropriate to mention it here. Perhaps no one will die due to a Marzano based education, but it sure as shooting won't magically make them critical thinkers either. I prefer more depth and nuance in my professional reading. Marzano doesn't pass the sniff test.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2009, 6:32:08 AM PDT
I couldn't have said it better!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2009, 10:05:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 18, 2009, 10:06:45 AM PDT
Laura says:
I agree with your assessment of Marzano. My school district is also using Marzano to change our curriculum. Unfortunately, the administrators have swallowed all of Marzano's slogans and flimsy research and are creating a curriculum that is so rigid that it will not allow teachers to meet the urgent needs of their students. Unfortunately, Marzano is just the tip of the iceberg concerning poor research and lack of credible results in Ph.D educational research. I suspect that you are correct, Kathleen, in conclusions that Marzano has contacts in the business community that wants to discredit public education and privatize the educational system.

Posted on Aug 1, 2009, 11:03:54 AM PDT
Could all of you suggest another book that might be a good summary of what works in classroom instruction? That would be very helpful.

Posted on Apr 14, 2011, 10:53:12 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 14, 2011, 6:16:55 PM PDT
RangerX says:
I agree. This book is not empirically backed. In the recognition chapter, Marzano cites more studies that contradict his point (that rewards do not decrease motivation) than he does for his point. The scenario he provides are anecdotal and are not backed by peer-reviewed empirical data.

Posted on Oct 13, 2011, 9:46:39 AM PDT
Ingles says:
Thanks for clearly articulating the problems with Marzano. As a teacher with a degree in science, I am appalled by what passes as "research" in education. Teachers haven't the foggiest notion of what is meant by the phrase "rigorous scientific method." They don't even define their terms clearly with any precision - a vital preliminary step to discussion, never mind research. SO much delusional thinking and practice. Marzano is the flavor of the week; stick around and there will be someone else in a few years. Sad waste of money.

Posted on Mar 3, 2012, 6:01:23 PM PST
GrafikMark says:
Dr. Wexler, would you have another book to recommend? I would love to find a book that was based on valid research.

Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2012, 7:02:04 PM PST
I agree with M. Robertson. Please give us another choice; sometimes one has to go with the best book available. What other book in this area is better? Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012, 11:05:14 PM PDT
The latest flavor is
This is required implementation in Milwaukee, and in the future teacher evaluations and teacher pay will depend on how well we follow the script.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012, 11:36:15 PM PDT
There is no magic bullet for becoming an effective teacher. In my teaching I find that I have to apply a good deal of psychology to motivate students, and I tailor my interactions for different students depending on their needs. I almost never raise my voice in anger, and when I do it is for a good purpose, not to let off steam. I have a repertoire of favorite stories to tell which I continually add to. I give advice on how to succeed in school and life. I am never sarcastic and never do put downs. I am genuine with my students and never pretentious. I use positional power, but I don't flaunt it. If a student asks I will tell him/her that I love teaching and I love all my students, and they do ask. Once you have a personal connection with each and every student, then you can influence the students (for the better, of course) and motivate them to like your class and possibly even succeed in it. Ineffective teachers aren't able to establish that bond and as a result struggle throughout the year with motivational and behavioral issues. Students often enjoy working with others on projects. As a science teacher I find that students are happiest during lab activities (which we do about 2/3 of the time) because they are fun, or interesting, or both, and it gives them an opportunity to socialize while they work. I challenge students to improve their performance. I monitor their success and provide feedback. Once students realize what they have to do to succeed, they will do it. This is a long process of learning and for some it may take all year to progress to that state of mind. The bottom line is: Know your students and know yourself. Be willing to change who you are.

This is my book, and it is based on my own observations, reflections, and many experiments with different approaches.
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