Children at the Library Children in a classroom Collaboration in the Hyde Park Office NORC conference room Meeting in an office at NORC
Informal Discussion in Bethesda Office NORC library in Chicago Loop office

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

ESSIN Task to Help with the CEDS Connect Tool. The goal of this project is to advance the use of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS)-rich data sources for the purposes of conducting educational research, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) sought assistance in the development of a research and analysis agenda that will promulgate appropriate uses of the SLDS and demonstrate how the data can inform, as well as assess, state and local educational policies and practices.
 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

Harvard Faculty Policy and Benefits Survey. NORC was awarded a subcontract from Frank Dobbin of Harvard University for a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded pilot study on the efficacy of faculty diversity policies and programs. By collecting data from universities about which policies and programs they have in place and when they were in place, and comparing this data to historical university employment data, Dr. Dobbin will examine the effects of various diversity policies and programs on the demographic composition of their faculties.  More

Partnership with Arkansas to Develop Alternative Growth Model. The method uses an ordinal ranking of students, which is easier for educators to understand, and thus has lower social risks. The results of these rankings behave identically to the student growth percentile model, with a correlation of .99. To ensure methodological rigor, Arkansas has partnered with NORC at the University of Chicago, who performed an evaluation of the Pilot Growth Model Program for the analysis.  This presentation will be an overview of this methodology and its application in determining teacher growth. More

Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). The Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) is a federal agency survey conducted by NORC for the National Science Foundation and five other federal agencies (National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration).* 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