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: