Children at the Library NORC library in Chicago Loop office Laptop on books Open work areas encourage collaboration
NORC at the University of Chicago
Informal Discussion in Bethesda Office Laptop and Paper in Hand

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

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

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.
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High School and Beyond Follow-up Survey. NORC, in partnership with the University of Texas Austin, has secured a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to conduct a follow-up study with the 1980 sophomore cohort of the High School and Beyond (HS&B) sample. This project will re-contact the nationally representative HS&B sophomore sample members (N=14,825) just before most turn 50 years old.  This follow-up survey will collect 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

Partnership with Washington State to Estimate the Impact of High Schools on College Attendance. Using variance partitioning coefficients NORC at the University of Chicago will estimate the proportion of the chance of matriculation that is attributed to schools.  We will use the Washington Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems to estimate these parameters. More

See all Education projects

Headlines

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
News USA Today: Concerns over the cost of college, with SONY data More
Posted: 8.8.2012 3:50PM