Researcher in Hyde Park Library Norman Bradburn and a small group of Senior Fellows based in the NORC Bethesda office NORC conference room meeting NORC library in Chicago Loop office Children in a classroom A NORC researcher uses a laptop in a meeting
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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

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

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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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

The Horatio Alger Association’s State of Our Nation's Youth Project. The 2012 State of Our Nation's Youth (SONY) project will collect information that provides a snapshot of attitudes among current high school students and graduates across a range of contemporary issues.  The primary aim of the project is to deepen our understanding of the myriad challenges our nation's youth face as they enter adult life in the current social and economic context.  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