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Education

A strong belief in the power of education to transform lives and strengthen our position in the global economy fuels tremendous effort among government entities, educators, parents, and students, as well as significant investment in educational institutions and reform. Despite this, persistent economic and social forces can constrain the ability of our society to deliver on the promise of education and nurture an environment of achievement.

At NORC, we work to understand the entire spectrum of education, from the needs of the very young pre-school population to the personal and institutional benefits of advanced degrees earned by the most well-educated citizens.

Since its earliest wartime studies on the impact of the GI bill and public views of the federal role in schools, NORC has been a leading contributor to educational research. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, former NORC director Peter Rossi and scholar James S. Coleman conducted the first rigorous, scientific evaluation of schools with the Study of High School Climates and other studies that explored school busing and desegregation. These pioneering efforts in large, longitudinal studies—multi-round surveys of tens of thousands of students—led to our partnership with the U.S. Department of Education for The National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 as well as a related project, the well-known High School and Beyond. In higher education, projects like the Survey of Doctorate Recipients provide invaluable data about the demographics, careers, and institutional investment of this population.

These advanced data collection capabilities have helped solidify NORC’s reputation for extraordinarily high response and retention rates in long-term studies. Additionally, NORC plays a strong role in educational analysis and evaluation. Indeed, many of the insights gained through educational research have resulted in interventions such as Head Start, Federal outreach programs, and the No Child Left Behind law—all of which NORC and its partners helped evaluate. For example, with the Growth Model Pilot Project under No Child Left Behind, NORC evaluated student assessment based on a growth model—a potentially more effective alternative to current measures.

The field of educational research also showcases one of NORC’s strongest capabilities: the ability to bring together multiple partners and disciplines into fruitful collaboration. Our role in the large scale National Survey of Early Care and Education—the first study on the topic in 20 years—brings together interdisciplinary scholars and multiple organizations to arrive at a fresh and multi-faceted look at today’s child care supply and demand issues.

Specific areas of expertise include:

Representative Projects

A Dating Violence Prevention Program for Each Grade in Middle School. With support from the National Institute of Justice, NORC is conducting a three-year randomized multi-level experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of a multi-level longitudinal approach to dating violence and sexual harassment (DV/H) prevention programming for public middle school students from New York City (NYC).  More

From the Classroom to the Lab and Back: Instructional Strategies to Improve Children’s Early Math Skills. ​From the Classroom to the Lab and Back is a collaboration between researchers, practitioners and curriculum developers to develop, validate, and disseminate instructional strategies that advance the early math skills of 3 to 5 year old preschool children, particularly those from low-SES backgrounds. The collaboration is grounded in research demonstrating that early mathematics skills predict later achievement in mathematics. More

Getting on Track Early for School Success: An Assessment System to Support Effective Instruction. Stephen W. Raudenbush and a team of co-investigators from the University of Chicago’s Committee on Education, Urban Education Institute, Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education, and NORC at the University of Chicago are developing objective, valid, and instructionally relevant tools for assessing the literacy and math skills of children of ages three and four.   More

Joyce Foundation Survey on Teacher Evaluation and Education Reform. NORC at the University of Chicago is developing a sample design and survey questionnaire, as well as conducting a telephone survey of a representative sample of Chicago parents with school-age children attending public, charter, or private schools about their views related to current efforts to reform public school teacher evaluation systems. A comparison group of households with no school-age children will also be surveyed. The Joyce Foundation is funding this effort. More

Out-of-Field Teaching in the Middle Grades. NORC will produce a working paper for the U.S. Department of Education–National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) with recommendations on how to define and measure the extent to which middle grade (5-8) teachers have not obtained sufficient professional preparation for their teaching assignments (“out-of-field teachers”). Defining out-of-field status for these teachers is complicated by the intersecting of elementary and secondary preparation standards in the middle grades. NORC will review past research and current definitions of teacher qualifications to summarize current theories and policies and to make recommendations. More

See all Education projects

Headlines

Sparks: The NORC Blog Carrie Markovitz: A Research Mom’s Perspective on Preschool: Lessons Learned from the Evaluation of the Minnesota Reading Corps PreK Program More
Posted: 4.21.2015 10:50AM
News Star Tribune: NORC evaluated the Minnesota Reading Corps, and looked at how young children learn to read More
Posted: 4.2.2015 12:23PM
Sparks: The NORC Blog Carrie Markovitz: New Evaluation Shows AmeriCorps Members Help Close the Achievement Gap More
Posted: 3.31.2015 12:23PM
News The Washington Post: The Impact and Process Evaluation of the Minnesota Reading Corps Program gives insight into how young readers may benefit from volunteers More
Posted: 3.30.2015 3:38PM
News The New York Times: NORC's Impact and Process Evaluation of the Minnesota Reading Corps (MRC) Program sheds light on how young people learn to read More
Posted: 9.18.2014 2:14PM