Book Review

What Works in Schools: Translating Research into Action


Reviewed by Larry Nyland
Academic Officer, Highline Public Schools,
Burien, Wash.

Robert Marzano’s What Works in Schools: Translating Research into Action is a five-star book.

Star One: The research base. Marzano synthesizes many research studies to identify the most effective strategies. His book provides a necessary foundation for the “scientific, research-based” strategies called for in No Child Left Behind.

Star Two: Readability. The book focuses specifically on the things that matter most to busy school administrators—effective interventions at the school level, the teacher level and the student level. Statistics are easy to read and clearly explained. Detailed statistical information is included in a “technical note” at the back of the book.

Star Three: Applicability. Each chapter ends with focused, doable recommendations. Marzano uses his own extensive experience in schools as well as the work of others to provide examples of schools implementing his recommendations.

Star Four: Implementation. Marzano advocates starting small and building on success. To help schools know where to start, he provides a “snapshot survey.” For each research-based strategy, participants are asked to indicate: How well are we doing this? How effective would this strategy be for us? How much effort will this strategy require?

Star Five: Leadership. Finally, the author synthesizes key leadership steps to implement
change successfully. What Works in Schools lives up to its title.

(What Works in Schools: Translating Research into Action by Robert J. Marzano, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Va., 2003, 218 pp., $25.95 softcover