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NORC at the University of Chicago
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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

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.
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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

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

Partnership with Washington State to Create Public Use Data. NORC at the University of Chicago will pilot a study of the feasibility of establishing a technical assistance center with two primary purposes: (a) to greatly expand access to the rapidly growing longitudinal databases on student academic performance now being compiled by virtually all states, and (b) to mitigate the burden on the states of responding to researcher requests for these data in a manner that meets the stringent standards set by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99).  More

Teaching Artists Research Project (TARP). There have been remarkable advances in arts education, both in and out of schools, over the last fifteen years, despite a challenging policy environment. Teaching artists, the hybrid professionals that link the arts to education and community life, are the creative resource behind much of this innovation.The Teaching Artists Research Project (TARP) deepens our understanding of world of teaching artists through studies in twelve communities, and it will inform policy designed to make their work sustainable, more effective, and more meaningful.  More

See all Education projects

Headlines

Event NORC at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2015 Annual Meeting, Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers (Registration and Exhibit Hall), Thursday, April 16, 2015 More
Posted: 4.15.2015 9:54AM
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