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Longitudinal Data in K-12 Education to Be Focus of New Research Center

Document date: July 18, 2006
Released online: July 18, 2006

Contact: Stu Kantor, (202) 261-5283, skantor@ui.urban.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 18, 2006—With a five-year, $10 million grant from the Institute for Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, the Urban Institute and six universities are founding the Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER). CALDER is one of the new federally funded National Research and Development Centers.

The center will harvest state administrative data for insights into who teaches what kinds of students, what determines teacher quality, and how these concerns affect academic achievement and high school graduation rates. The research, on public school teachers and students in kindergarten through 12th grade, will concentrate on interactions among teacher hiring, compensation, assignment, and certification; school accountability, governance, and choice; and student demographics, labor markets, and school financial resources.

CALDER will mine the longitudinal databases emerging as educational systems are subject to increased accountability, especially under the No Child Left Behind Act. Comprehensive databases in Florida, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington state -- which include information on all their districts, schools, teachers, and students -- will enable researchers to disentangle the effects of different policies by location. For instance, the center will be able to distinguish patterns involving student racial, social, and achievement segregation and teacher quality at district, school, and classroom levels. While the details of the databases and the terms of their use vary across the states, the databases will generally allow researchers to follow students and teachers over time, especially as they change locations.

CALDER is a joint project of the Urban Institute's Education Policy Center and scholars at Duke University, Stanford University, the University of Florida, the University of Missouri, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of Washington.

Each year, CALDER researchers will explore a common theme, supplemented by research prompted by unanticipated findings, evolving policies, and new concerns meriting timely analysis. Also, policymakers and researchers will meet at annual CALDER conferences.

Year 1 will assess the comparability of the databases, review past research findings, and attempt to delineate the mechanisms used to sort teachers across districts, schools, and classrooms, especially high-poverty, low-performing environments. Year 2 will focus on the consequences of teacher policies on recruitment, retention, and assignment and on student achievement. Year 3 will examine accountability topics, particularly in relation to teacher labor markets and student success. Year 4 will look at population dynamics, such as the influx of immigrants and student mobility, and their implications for teacher policies and academic performance. Year 5 will build on prior years' research to analyze such topics as new routes into the teaching profession and new kinds of jobs in the field.

Jane Hannaway, director of the Urban Institute's Education Policy Center, is CALDER's principal investigator. Among the other scholars leading CALDER's work are

  • David Figlio, Knight-Ridder Professor of Economics, University of Florida
  • Dan Goldhaber, research associate professor, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington, and affiliated scholar, Education Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • Eric Hanushek, chairman, executive board, Texas Schools Project, University of Texas at Dallas, and Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
  • Paul A. Jargowsky, associate professor of political economy and director, Texas Schools Project, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Helen F. Ladd, Edgar Thompson Professor of Public Policy Studies and professor of economics, Duke University
  • Susanna Loeb, associate professor of education, Stanford University
  • Michael Podgursky, professor of economics, University of Missouri-Columbia

The center's new web site -- www.caldercenter.org -- will be unveiled later this year.

The Urban Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research and educational organization that examines the social, economic, and governance challenges facing the nation.

Topics/Tags: | Education

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