The Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO) is a part of the Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI) at the University of Notre Dame. We conduct basic and applied research on schools and the learning process. Learn More >>>

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Megan Austin named 2015 recipient of the Maureen T. Hallinan Graduate Student Paper Award

March 11, 2015

Megan Austin,  Sociology & CREO Graduate Student, has been selected to receive the Maureen T. Hallinan Graduate Student Paper Award, given by the American Educational Research Association’s Sociology of Education SIG. Megan’s paper “Sector Effects and Changes in School Composition: The Case of School Vouchers” was selected for its potential to positively impact Sociology of Education.  The award is to be presented to Megan at the upcoming AERA 2015 Annual Meeting in Chicago on April 17th

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Mark Berends Discusses School Choice Issues

November 10, 2014

During the 2014 Annual Conference for the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Dr. Mark Berends was interviewed on the research of school choice issues. Berends discusses the need to research beyond similarities and differences of traditional public schools and charter schools.  He states "There is a need to look at the conditions under which schools are effective or not. This has implications for practice, whether at the policy level or what goes on inside schools." To view and to listen to Dr. Berends' discussion on school choice issues, please access the interview with one of the following links.…

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Indianapolis Peers and School Transitions Study (IPAST)

The goal of this study is to understand how changes that students experience in their schools and classmates at the transition to 7th grade results in changes in their academic achievement.  To this end, we are collecting data over multiple school years on Indianapolis students’ peers, educational attitudes, and behaviors as they transition from 6th to 7th grade across public, charter, and private schools. These transitions provide a unique opportunity to observe students as their school peers and closest friends change.
Our data collection will focus on two processes:

1)  The formation of and change in students' school and non-school friendships, and
2)  The formation of and change in students’ academic expectations, self-assessments, and engagement.

Starting in the fall of 2014 we will survey all 7th graders in key middle schools throughout Indianapolis. We will continue to follow these students throughout the school year with short surveys at regular intervals. In the spring of 2015, we will add a new survey of 6th graders attending key elementary or middle schools. We will continue to follow this new group 6th graders as they transition to and complete the 7th grade in the 2015-16 school year. For more information, visit the Research tab.

Teacher Effectiveness in Indiana

With funding from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, Mark Berends and David Stuit (Basis Policy Research) are examining value-added models of teacher effectiveness based on different assessments in mathematics and reading.  Value-added models refer to a collection of statistical techniques that are designed to estimate the “effects” of teachers (or schools) based on the changes in students’ test scores over time.  In theory, value-added models provide a more accurate estimate of what individual teachers contribute to student learning, but in practice they involve technical challenges and much debate.  Several states and districts are moving toward incorporating the results of value-added models into their evaluations of teachers and other human resource decisions (e.g., recruitment, termination, and compensation).  In light of this trend, it is critical for policymakers and practitioners to have a sound understanding of the technical issues related to the accuracy of teachers’ value-added estimates. To date, much of the technical research on value-added focuses on how different statistical models influence teachers’ value-added estimates.   Less attention has been paid to how different test scores used in the models influence teachers’ value-added estimates.  The purpose of study is to provide insight into this important issue to both policymakers and practitioners.




Catholic School Effectiveness

With funding from the Walton Family Foundation, the University of Notre Dame is initiating a project to collect and analyze student achievement data from Catholic schools across the country. The research will obtain longitudinal student test score and other outcome data from Catholic schools in nine cities across the United States, which data will then be used to study how students, schools, and communities contribute to student learning in Catholic schools and to help schools guide their improvement efforts.

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