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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

First 5 LA Family Survey. Funded by First 5 LA, the First 5 LA Family Survey will provide representative data about key indicators of well-being for children zero to five and their parents across 14 communities in Los Angeles County participating in Best Start.  Best Start is an ambitious place-based initiative with the goal of improving outcomes for children zero to five by ensuring children are born healthy, maintain a healthy weight, are free from abuse and neglect and enter school ready to learn.  More

Impact and Process Evaluation of the Minnesota Reading Corps (MRC) Program, Phases I and II. In 2011, NORC was awarded Phase I of a project to design and implement an Impact and Process Evaluation of the Minnesota Reading Corps (MRC) Program on behalf of the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS). The core activities of the MRC program are training, placing, and monitoring AmeriCorps members in school-based settings to implement reading and literacy interventions to children in both preschool (PreK) and K through 3rd grade (K-3) programs. Among its goals, Phase I was to explore options for designing a future impact evaluation of the MRC that assesses the impact of the program on students' literacy levels and on AmeriCorps members' (literacy tutors) educational goals and civic engagement. 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

Performance and Impact Evaluation of USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Project (SHRP). NORC is the prime contractor to USAID/Uganda to conduct a performance and impact evaluation of the School Health and Reading Program (SHRP), currently being implemented in 15 districts in Uganda. SHRP includes two sets of intervention: (1) an Early Grade Reading intervention targeted at students Grades 1-3, and (2) an HIV/AIDS intervention targeted at upper primary and secondary school students. NORC is responsible for designing and implementing the midterm and end-of-project performance evaluations and annual impact evaluations for this program.  More

Teaching Artists Research Project (TARP). There have been remarkable advances in arts education, both in and out of schools, over the last fifteen years, despite a challenging policy environment. Teaching artists, the hybrid professionals that link the arts to education and community life, are the creative resource behind much of this innovation.The Teaching Artists Research Project (TARP) deepens our understanding of world of teaching artists through studies in twelve communities, and it will inform policy designed to make their work sustainable, more effective, and more meaningful.  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