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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 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

Harnessing Technology and Innovation in Two-Generation Educational Skills Investment Strategies. The purpose of this one-year planning grant is to create a framework and a roadmap for the development of a large-scale technology-based intervention to promote math learning in two
generations. The core element of the intervention will be a series of software-based interactive learning activities that pre-K students and their parents/caregivers use together that develop math More

HighScope Perry Preschool Study. Sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the HighScope Perry Preschool Study (HPPS) is designed to teach us about the lasting effects of early childhood interventions, such as preschool programs.  The original Perry Preschool Program targeted a disadvantaged African American population in the 1960s. Evaluated initially by a clinical trial of preschool age children, participants were then followed periodically through age 40. Results from this longitudinal survey show strong evidence for the benefits of children in the treatment group in the areas of improved school readiness, higher female graduation rates, higher employment rates and earnings, reduced involvement in crime, and high economic return on investment. More

Performance and Impact Evaluation of USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Project (SHRP). NORC is the prime contractor to USAID/Uganda to conduct a performance and impact evaluation of the School Health and Reading Program (SHRP), currently being implemented in 15 districts in Uganda. SHRP includes two sets of intervention: (1) an Early Grade Reading intervention targeted at students Grades 1-3, and (2) an HIV/AIDS intervention targeted at upper primary and secondary school students. NORC is responsible for designing and implementing the midterm and end-of-project performance evaluations and annual impact evaluations for this program.  More

State-specific Design Parameters for Designing Better Evaluation Studies. This IES-funded project seeks to use State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) to estimate variance components and intraclass correlations for use in multi-level study designs in education.  Having plausible values of intraclass correlations is essential to planning how many schools and students are needed for an evaluation design.  This project is a continuation of efforts by Hedges and Hedberg to provide guidance on these parameters to the research community. Whereas their previous work used national probability samples to estimate these parameters, the current project uses state data. More

See all Education projects

Headlines

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
News Inside Higher Ed: The NLSY helps ask if undergraduates are matches for the degrees they choose More
Posted: 8.13.2013 10:16AM
News The Chicago Tribune: "High hopes and a high bar for Chicago's teachers" featuring NORC's Joyce Foundation Survey on Teacher Evaluation and Education Reform More
Posted: 3.23.2013 12:28PM
News The Chronicle of Higher Education: Success Study of the Horatio Alger Association Scholarship Program helps define character and moxie More
Posted: 1.23.2013 4:25PM
News TIME: The Horatio Alger Association’s State of Our Nation's Youth Project helps observe hope in high schoolers More
Posted: 9.6.2012 4:06PM