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Education Week Research Center Top 10: 2016

By guest blogger Holly Yettick, director, Education Week Research Center 

The Education Week Research Center is probably known best for Quality Counts. For more than two decades, we have calculated the state and national grades found in this longstanding, annual report. But, as the independent, non-partisan research arm of Education Week's nonprofit publisher (Editorial Projects in Education or EPE), we have branched out in recent years.

And 2016 was a busy period for us. In addition to conducting studies for external clients like the Education Writers Association, our staff of four full-time education researchers wrote, contributed to, or provided information for 60-plus news articles, blog posts, and graphics on Edweek Market Brief (which covers the business of education) and edweek.org. While Quality Counts remains a perennial favorite, this review of the most frequently-viewed content of 2016 showcases the breadth and depth of the research center's work.

10. Corporal Punishment Use Found in Schools in 21 States

For much of the past six months, Education Week Research Center analyst Alex Harwin has been immersed in the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights Data Collection, a large, complex, and wide-ranging data set with a million stories to tell. In this investigative analysis of 2013-14 data released last summer, Harwin teams with journalist Sarah D. Sparks to reveal that more than 109,000 U.S. students received corporal punishment, and that some some of them live in jurisdictions where the practice is banned by law. The research center also conducted an original policy survey, which found that 29 states ban corporal punishment, 15 permit it, and the remainder do not address it in state law. In the wake of Education Week's coverage, U.S. Secretary of Education John King called for states to stop using corporal punishment to discipline students.

9. Long Building, Chicago Schools' Fiscal Crisis Reaches Boiling Point

As the Chicago public schools' financial crisis reached a boiling point in May, the Education Week Research Center worked with Education Week reporters Stephen Sawchuk and Denisa R. Superville to analyze federal data, providing a comparative view of per-pupil funding in the district and its neighbors. Cost-adjusted figures showed that Chicago spent about $11,600 per student, while a nearby suburban district spent as much as $18,800. 

8. Teaching America's English-Language Learners: A Special Report

Only one-third of district-level leaders believe educators in their schools are prepared to effectively teach English-learners, according to an Education Week Research Center survey conducted for this special report on ELL instruction.

7.Teachers Still Struggling to Use Tech to Transform Instruction

For Technology Counts 2016, the research center conducted an original survey of teachers who are registered users of edweek.org, creating the Education Week Tech Confidence Index to gauge their perceptions of ed tech. According to the index, teachers are more confident in the overall performance of ed tech in schools than they are in the related funding levels and policymaking environment. Read more about the results in our special report, Teachers and Technology Use in the Classroom: Exclusive Survey Results.

6. Are Dual-Enrollment Programs Overpromising?

Here, the research center teams up with Education Week reporters Catherine Gewertz and Sarah D. Sparks for an analysis of participation in dual-enrollment programs, some of which may not be living up to their promises to provide high school students with college credits.

5. 2016 State Highlights Report

A perpeptual favorite with our readers, the Quality Counts State Highlights Reports provide in-depth details on school finance and achievement in the states.

4. Map: How Per-Pupil Spending Compares Across U.S. School Districts  

This past spring, the Education Week Research Center partnered with NPR Education on a series on public school spending across the United States. The Research Center drilled down to the district level to provide per-pupil expenditure data adjusted for regional cost differences. NPR then compiled this data into this popular interactive map.

3. 1 in 4 Teachers Miss 10 or More School Days, Analysis Finds

Slightly more than 1 in 4 teachers missed 10 days or more of school in 2013-14, according to this Education Week Research Center analysis of federal civil rights data. 

2. Quality Counts 2015: State Report Cards Map

Maps are a popular theme in 2016, with two making the top 10. This one summarizes data from Quality Counts 2016.

1. 2016 Education Rankings Put States, Nation to the Test

Last year marked the 20th anniversary of both Quality Counts and the Education Week Research Center, which originally was founded to produce analyses for the report. So it is probably appropriate that the first and second most popular Education Week Research contributions last year related to the report. In this article, the research center provided an overview of its rankings of the nation as a whole and also of the states. The 2016 summative grade of C corresponded to a 74.4 out of 100, up slightly from 74.3 in 2015, when the nation also earned a C. What's this year's grade? Find out here!

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