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If you can measure that of which you speak… -William Thomson, Lord Kelvin
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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

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

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

High School and Beyond Follow-up Survey. NORC, in partnership with the University of Texas Austin, has continued the High School and Beyond (HS&B) Study. With grant funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Institute for Education Statistics, NORC conducted a follow-up study with the 1980 sophomore cohort of the HS&B sample. This project re-contacted the nationally representative HS&B sophomore sample members (N=14,825) just before most turned 50 years old.  This follow-up survey collected some current information on sample members' labor force experience, health status, family roles, and expectations for continued work and retirement.  These data will become part of a robust data source that will also include data from the 1980 base year survey and from the four follow-ups that took place between 1982 and 1992. This valuable resource will be used to study a number of issues related to the consequences for midlife health and labor force participation of adolescent and early adult circumstances and characteristics. 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

National Survey of Early Care and Education. The NSECE will gather information from multiple sources to provide rich data on the types of providers of early care and education, as well as the needs, constraints and preferences of families with children age 13 and under as they seek and use non-parental care for their children. 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