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CALDER to move to the American Institutes for Research

The National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education, or CALDER, today merged with fellow nonprofit, the American Institutes for Research, leaving its previous home at the Urban Institute.

Jane Hannaway, an expert in accountability and teacher quality issues, will continue to lead the center, as well as serving as a vice president of AIR under David Myers, AIR's president and chief executive officer. She told me the center decided on the move in order to expand its longitudinal data set research, particularly linking K-12 data with postsecondary and labor-market data sets to gauge student's long-term outcomes.

"AIR has offered support to expand and improve CALDER, and there's also a wealth of staff here that will help us expand our effort in different ways," Hannaway said. "We're basically working on the same projects and efforts, but we'll able to do it more expansively."

Myers told me AIR also will be investing "multiple millions of dollars over several years" to boost the center's research efforts, including hiring new researchers. CALDER's partners at Duke University, Northwestern University, Stanford University, the University of Missouri, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of Washington will remain with the center, and Harry J. Holzer, an economics professor at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute, will be coming on as a research fellow.

CALDER's merger brings its domestic education research group to 450, of its total 1500 employees, and AIR now is responsible for $290 million per year in research projects, Myers said.

The acquisition comes less than a year after AIR merged with the Naperville, Ill.-based Learning Point Associates, which specialized in technical assistance and evaluation research, including the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, led by Sabrina Laine. That merger has led to more international research partnerships, particularly among Chicago's Learning Point evaluators and researchers in AIR's nearly 30 partner countries.

"We're just in the middle of our strategic planning effort," Myers said, noting that two years ago AIR's board of directors began looking for ways to expand the group's work in science, technology, engineering and math education, English- language learners and teacher quality issues. "We've been building up our value-added [research] in the last year and a half," he added, referring to growth models that rely on longitudinal data systems, a method of research that CALDER has also mined extensively.

The group next month also will bring on ELL expert Diane August, the senior research scientist at the Center for Applied Linguistics, as a managing researcher to guide AIR's ELL research. She will continue her work as a principal investigator on a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-funded study of language development among ELLs and on studies of reading-comprehension, diagnostic assessment and middle-school ELLs' content understanding.

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