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Education and Child Development Studies

For more than 40 years, NORC has been committed to conducting high quality education research.  Its department of Education and Child Development Studies’ research covers the full array of education-relevant populations, from pre-school children to the post-graduate doctorate holders. The scope of its education research methodologies has been wide-ranging, too – including primary data collection and reporting, analysis of individual and aggregate assessments, transcript abstraction, and classroom observations.

The most notable panel surveys developed by NORC for the U.S. Department of Education were High School and Beyond (HS&B), the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS-72), and the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88). These seminal studies are at the foundation of longitudinal education research carried out today. The legacy of these landmark projects provides irreplaceable information on the performance and experiences, hopes and plans of American young people, and the hopes and plans their parents had for them. NORC continues to build on this tradition today by delivering high quality social science research on education with a staff of highly regarded research professionals.

The current staff maintains active research agendas and integral ties with leaders in the education research community. In particular, the formation of the Joint Center for Education Research (JCER) has significantly enhanced collaborative research by facilitating partnerships between University of Chicago academic researchers with NORC staff researchers.   Additionally, the Education and Child Development Studies department actively partners with other NORC research departments and experts at other institutions.

By implementing state-of-the-art research methodologies and utilizing advanced statistical techniques to analyze the data, NORC’s work provides reliable, evidence-based information to help resolve and address critical issues in education. Its research supports the aims of government, private agencies, and organizations that require program evaluations, assessments, data collection, and analysis of academic populations by consistently implementing accurate, relevant, and accessible social science research.

 Areas of Expertise

  • Early childhood education
  • K-20 education
    • Public and private schools
    • Charter schools
    • Elementary schools
    • Middle schools
    • High schools
    • Community Colleges
    • 4-year Colleges and Universities
    • Graduate education
  • School reform
  • Special education
  • College readiness
  • College access and persistence
  • Scholarship evaluations
  • Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education
  • Student achievement, testing, assessments
  • Teacher quality
  • State Longitudinal Data Systems
  • Growth Models

 Major Capabilities

  • Data Collection and Management
    • Multi-mode instrumentation
    • Assessments
    • Classroom observations
    • Cognitive testing and focus groups
  • Dissemination
  • Evaluation Research and Performance Management
  • Policy Analysis
  • Statistics and Sampling
  • Study Design and Survey Methodology
  • Technical assistance

Representative Projects

A Study of the Working Environments of the Natural Science Departments in the University of Chicago and Northwestern University (Faculty Climate Study). On behalf of the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, NORC at the University of Chicago is conducting an in-depth qualitative analysis of the working climate within each university's natural sciences departments.  More

Change and Stability at the Starting Gate: A Comparison of America's Kindergartners in 2010 and 1998. NORC will produce a report that presents findings from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-2011 (ECLS-K:2011) and compare nationally-representative samples of first-time kindergarten students from Fall 2010 and Fall 1998 with respect to cognitive skills and psychological characteristics, social backgrounds, and school experiences. More

Education and Transition to Adulthood. This project’s key research question is ‘How does schooling, and specifically individuals’ experiences in postsecondary education, influence health trajectories and early adult labor force and family formation?’ More

Evaluation of the Graduate Research Fellowship Program. On behalf of NSF, NORC is conducting a study that will provide rigorous evidence of the impact of the GRFP on individuals’ educational decisions, career preparations, aspirations and progress, as well as professional productivity; and provide an understanding of how the program is implemented by universities and whether and how specific program policies could be adjusted to make the program more effective in meeting its goals.

Growth Model Pilot Program Under No Child Left Behind (GMPP). The GMPP is an ambitious effort to improve how student achievement data are analyzed and used to assess the effectiveness of schools and school systems under the accountability provisions of the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind). More

See all Education and Child Development Studies projects
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