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IES Builds New Research Partnerships, Testing Studies

The Institute of Education Sciences announced it awarded six grants to build new researcher-practitioner partnerships in education areas like school improvement, social and emotional learning, and teacher recruitment.

The partnerships are part of nearly $77 million in grants awarded this week by IES' National Center for Education Research. They build on IES Director John Easton's push to get educators more involved in the research process and encourage researchers to focus on problems of practice in the field.

Among the new partnerships are those tackling:
Title I: Alexander Kurtz of Arizona State University was awarded nearly $386,000 for a partnership tracking the factors that lead to success in high-poverty Title I schools in Arizona, working with 37 high-performing Title I "reward" schools, 37 Title I "focus" schools which have identified large achievement gaps among groups of students, and 74 persistently low performing Title I "priority" schools. Researchers and school officials will meet regularly to identify the practices that close gaps and improve student achievement in high-poverty schools, and then use these to develop targeted interventions in the priority schools.

Social and Emotional Learning: Roger P. Weissberg of the Chicago-based Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning received nearly $397,000 to help build a student risk assessment that identifies students' social and emotional strengths and levels of resilience, not just the signals that they could fall off track. He is working with Washoe County, Nev., schools, which have made significant progress in improving a brutally low graduation rate. (For more on what Washoe is doing, see my earlier coverage here and here.)

Teacher Quality: Dan Goldhaber of the University of Washington's Center for Education Data and Research was awarded nearly $400,000 to work with the Spokane County school district in Washington to analyze its teacher recruitment process. The partnership will look at how well the data collected when new teachers are hired predicts their later teaching performance, and will work to improve the district's recruitment and screening process.

In addition to the partnership grants, NCER will suport new studies of education technology, early-childhood education, English-language learners, and other topics.

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