News

Hanushek Interviewed About Equity and Excellence Commission Report
2013 Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings - Hanushek in Top 3
Texas Pre-K Programs Improve Kids' Elementary Achievement
Hanushek Comments on Texas Class Size Debate
2010 Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings Released - Hanushek in Top 3
Hanushek Shares Views on Teacher Evaluation
Education Research Center Draws High Praise
Comprehensive Professional Development Study Underway
Is Desegregation Dead? Rivkin Shares His Thoughts
Stella Flores Named a National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow
Scott Imberman Named a National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow
Washington Post Interviews Klopfenstein on AP Research
New AP Book Co-Authored by Klopfenstein Highlighted in EdWeek
Klopfenstein Shares Thoughts on Advanced Placement Growth
Hanushek's "Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses" Receives Enthusiastic Reviews
UTD-ERC Particpates in Launch of Texas Consortium on School Research
ERC Data & Expertise Integral in Comptrollerís Resource Allocation Study
TSP Evaluates Engineering Curriculum
Andrews Joins TSP Research Team
New Computing Environment Increases Researcher Productivity
National Charter School Study Released
TSP Partners on National Supplemental Educational Services Study
Parsons Brings Wealth of Experience to TSP
TSP Doubles Staff, Expands Facility
TSP Launches Redesigned Website & E-Newsletter
Klopfenstein Joins TSP as Senior Researcher
UTD-ERC Launches Remote Access
Study Finds Preschool Programs Can Boost Test Scores
Data Holdings Update

Hanushek Comments on Class Size Debate

(Jan. 5, 2011) With the state facing an extraordinary budget deficit, Texas state legislators are re-thinking elementary school class size caps for kindergarten through fourth grade. Eric Hanushek, chair of Texas Schools Project's Executive Committee, comments on mixed research findings in a Dallas Morning News article on the topic.
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2010 Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings Released - Hanushek in Top 3

(Dec. 30, 2010) Rick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, recently released his 2010 Edu-Scholar Public Presence rankings in his weekly Education Week blog, "Straight Up." The ranking was developed by looking at how university-based education scholars contribute to public discourse. Hess says in his blog, "My hope is that this exercise helps spur conversation about which university-based academics are contributing most substantially to public debates over education and ed policy, and how they do so."

Rick Hanushek, senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institutation and chair of Texas Schools Project's Executive Committee, ranked third (in a listing of 89), behind Diane Ravitch of NYU and Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford.
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Hanushek Shares Views on Teacher Evaluation

Eric Hanushek, chair of Texas Schools Project's Executive Committee, shares his views on using value-added scores as part of teacher evaluation in two recent commentaries:
The Sacramento Bee, "Test evaluation put teachers on the spot"
The New York Daily News, "UFT wrong to fight Joel Klein's attempt to release teacher data, says leading education researcher"

Education Research Center Draws High Praise

(Sept. 24, 2010) Two of the nationís top education officials recently highlighted work under way at The University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center (UTD-ERC) and Texas Schools Project. Arne Duncan, U.S. secretary of education, and John Easton, director of the Institute for Education Sciences (IES), praised the center at a conference sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics. Speaking to attendees about the power of data in guiding school reform, Duncan recommended the Texas ERC policy on enforcing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as a model for those constructing state data systems.
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Comprehensive Professional Development Study Underway

(Sept. 2, 2010) The University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center (UTD-ERC) will lead a research team charged with measuring the effectiveness of professional development academies for Texas teachers. The researchers will assess content and participation in the academies, and then take a look at the trainingís effect on instruction practices and student achievement. The academies are designed to improve student achievement in the core subject areas of math, English/language arts and science.
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Is Desegregation Dead? Rivkin Shares His Thoughts

Steve Rivkin, professor of economics at Amherst College and a member of Texas Schools Project's Executive Committee, recently shared his thoughts on the role of racial desegregation in 21st-century school improvement:
Education Next, "Is Desegretation Dead?"

Stella Flores Named a National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow

(July 26, 2010) Stella M. Flores, assistant professor of public policy and higher education at Vanderbilt University, has been named a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. The award, which will allow her to pursue her research interests during 2010-11, funds her JAB-approved project examining the college access and completion trajectories of underrepresented students, focusing on English Language Learner youth, using UTD-ERC longitudinal data.

Flores was one of 20 fellows selected nationally from a competitive pool of 160 scholars in education. The fellowships, administered by the NEA, are designed to enhance the future of education research by developing new talent.
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Scott Imberman Named a National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow

(June 3, 2010) Scott Imberman, assistant professor of economics at the University of Houston, has been named a National Academy of Education (NAEd)/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. The award will fund Imberman's JAB-approved research, which investigates how English speaking students are affected by sharing classrooms with students who have limited English proficiency.

Imberman is one of 20 fellows selected nationally from a competitive pool of 160 scholars in education. He and another researcher in this select group, Stella Flores, are both using UTD-ERC data in their JAB-approved projects.
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Washington Post Interviews Klopfenstein on AP Research

(Apr. 2, 2010) Jay Mathews of The Washington Post interviewed Kristin Klopfenstein about her research included in the recently released book of which she is a co-author, "AP: A Critical Examination of the Advanced Placement Program." In his article, Mathews refers to Klopfenstein as "the most articulate and knowledgeable critic of using AP to raise achievement in low-income schools."
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UTD-ERC Assists in Creating First Nationwide Research & Reporting System Connecting High Schools to Postsecondary Outcomes

(Mar. 31, 2010) The University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center (UTD-ERC) will work with the National Student Clearinghouse and others in the development of a groundbreaking high school research and reporting system that will allow participating high schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to better measure the academic success of their students after they graduate. The pilot, called "Tracking Postsecondary Outcomes for High Schools," aims to develop high-quality, actionable, data-driven reports linking K-12 and postsecondary data that can be used by schools, districts, and states to improve the college readiness and success of their students.
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New AP Book Co-Authored by Klopfenstein Highlighted in EdWeek

(Mar. 12, 2010) The College Board's Advanced Placement program has been the topic of much recent discussion. A new book entitled "AP: A Critical Examination of the Advanced Placement Program," which brings together the most recent research on this topic, is highlighted in a recent Education Week article. Kristin Klopfenstein, senior researcher with Texas Schools Project, is one of the book's co-authors.
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Klopfenstein Shares Thoughts on Advanced Placement Growth

(Dec. 20, 2009) Kristin Klopfenstein, senior researcher with Texas Schools Project, was asked by The New York Times to share her thoughts on the ramifications of growth in Advanced Placement courses. Klopfenstein is also an editor of the forthcoming Harvard Education Press volume "AP: A Critical Examination of the Advanced Placement Program."
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Hanushek's "Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses" Receives Enthusiastic Reviews

(Dec. 6, 2009) Eric Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University and Texas Schools Project's Executive Committee Chairman, has authored many books on education policy. His most recent, "Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses: Solving the Funding-Achievement Puzzle in America's Public Schools," focuses on how improved school finance policies can be used to meet our educational achievement goals.

Roy Romer, chairman of Strong Schools America, former Los Angeles school superintendent, and former Colorado governor, endorsed the book saying, "This is a must-read for policymakers, parents, and the public. Too many people fail to understand the seriousness of the educational crises we face. Too many think that tinkering with the current system will be enough. This book not only sets out the dimensions of the problem clearly and forcefully but also provides a path for improvement."
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UTD-ERC Particpates in Launch of Texas Consortium on School Research

(Nov. 9, 2009) Leaders from 19 Texas school districts plus additional educational organizations gathered in Houston recently for the formation and launch of the Texas Consortium on School Research. The event was sponsored by the Regional Educational Laboratory ñ Southwest (REL Southwest at Edvance Research) and was held adjacent to the Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards (TASA/TASB) fall conference.

The Texas Consortium was modeled on the successful work of the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) who is collaborating on the Texas Consortium with REL Southwest, along with The University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center (UTD-ERC).

The goal of the Texas Consortium is to allow members from districts across the state to collaborate in building research capacity to address critical issues to support improvement efforts. The Texas Consortium will also allow participants to create a ìcommunity of practiceî through shared knowledge and practices.
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ERC Data & Expertise Integral in Comptrollerís Resource Allocation Study

(Oct. 5, 2009) In an effort to improve academic achievement and encourage more effective use of public education dollars, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs will conduct a study of school district resource allocation practices that contribute to high academic achievement and cost-effective operations.

The study, required by House Bill 3, will use the data and expertise of the UT Dallas Education Research Center. Working with the Education Research Center will be a select group of national experts in school accountability, statistical methods, psychometrics, and finance. The Comptroller has also enlisted the advice of a group of Texas superintendents in the studyís development and implementation.

ìDeveloping new measures to determine which schools and school districts have achieved the highest performance in both academics and financial efficiency is far too important to be left to a single institution or a few experts,î said Dan OíBrien, Director of Texas Schools Project, which oversees the UT Dallas Education Research Center. ìTherefore, we are drawing from the best and most experienced researchers in school finance and student achievement to guide the Comptrollerís resource allocation study.î
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TSP Evaluates Engineering Curriculum

(Sept. 30, 2009) Texas Schools Project has been asked to analyze the effect of a high-tech engineering curriculum, developed by The Infinity Project at the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University, on Texas high school studentsí academic achievement.

TSPís evaluation will take place in two phases. This evaluation also lays the groundwork for future analysis of the programís impact on college outcomes and beyond.

ìIt is of utmost importance that students be well equipped to compete in a globally competitive 21st century. This study will help us evaluate the effect our curriculum is having on these students,î said Torrence Robinson, TI director of public affairs and co-founder of The Infinity Project.

The evaluation, which includes high schools from more than 25 school districts throughout Texas, is scheduled to be completed by year-end, under the direction of Dr. Kristin Kuhne, manager of the newly formed evaluation unit at TSP.
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Andrews Joins TSP Research Team

(Aug. 31, 2009) Rodney Andrews, a Harvard University Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar, recently joined Texas Schools Project as a Senior Researcher. In addition, he has also joined the UT Dallas School of Economic, Political & Policy Sciences faculty as an assistant professor of economics.

Andrewsí areas of expertise include economics of education, labor economics, public finance, and applied microeconometrics. While he has investigated a range of topics including health policy, his recent research, ìThe Effects of the Kalamazoo Promise on College Choiceî and ìEstimating the Responsiveness of College Applications to the Likelihood of Acceptance and Financial Assistance: Evidence from Texas,î focuses on the college application process and how it is impacted by financial assistance.

As part of his decision to move to Texas, Andrews cited the stateís ability to put longitudinal data in the hands of researchers who have the necessary skill sets to answer important education questions. ìTexas, Florida and North Carolina are leading the way when it comes to providing longitudinal data to education researchers. This is critical if we are to inform policy makers and influence constructive change.î
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New Computing Environment Increases Researcher Productivity

(Aug. 26, 2009) Researchers using education data provided by The University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center (UTD-ERC) are many times working with hundreds of thousands ñ and sometimes millions ñ of observations, or individual pieces of data. Performing complicated statistical analyses on this volume of data can take hours or even days.

Devora Davis, a visiting researcher from CREDO at Stanford University, typically spends 8-16 hours running a procedure to create a data set for analysis. But, because Texas Schools Project, the administrator of the UTD-ERC, recently installed a Cray CX1ô cluster, Devoraís job was completed in half the time. She remarked, ìI was blown away by its speed!î
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National Charter School Study Released

(Aug. 26, 2009) A new report issued in June by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University found that there is a wide variance in the quality of the nationís several thousand charter schools with, in the aggregate, students in charter schools not faring as well as students in traditional public schools.

A supplemental report, with an in-depth examination of the results for charter schools in Texas found that reading and math gains were significantly lower in charter school students compared to their traditional public school peers. For low income students, charter schools had a larger and more positive effect than for similar students in traditional public schools. The report also found that while first year charter school students on average experienced a decline in learning, students in their third and fourth years in charter schools saw a significant reversal, experiencing positive achievement gains.

Texas student data was provided through the UT Dallas Education Research Center at Texas Schools Project.
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CREDO National Charter School Study website

TSP Partners on National Supplemental Educational Services Study

(Aug. 5, 2009)Texas Schools Project (TSP) is partnering with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research to perform a national study of Supplemental Educational Services (SES) in five large, urban school districts: Dallas, TX; Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; and Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Nidhi Mehrotra of TSP will be responsible for two of these sites, Dallas Independent School District, starting in year one of the study, and Austin Independent School District, starting in year two.

The study is multi-dimensional, engaging in the analysis of various facets of SES. A primary focus will be to investigate what type of impact SES has on student achievement.

ìLow-income and disadvantaged students are disproportionately represented in schools that have been identified for improvement under NCLB, and thus, they also may have the most to gain if the effectiveness of SES can be improved through additional research,î said Carolyn Heinrich, director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and principal investigator of the study.

The study, which begins this fall, will take place over four years. It is being funded by The Institute for Educational Sciences, a division of the U.S. Department of Education. TSPís portion of the grant is approximately $570,000.
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Parsons Brings Wealth of Experience to TSP

(July 13, 2009) Jim Parsons, founding member of the Joint Advisory Board and former Humble ISD Executive Director of Accountability, has joined Texas Schools Project as its Assistant Director.

Carla Stevens, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Research and Accountability for Houston ISD, was also a founding member of the Joint Advisory Board with Parsons. She commented, ìAs a fellow Joint Advisory Board member I have valued Jimís input and experience, especially as we have reviewed research proposals and set policy for the Board.î She continued, ìI know he is very well-respected from a state level and will be quite an asset in his new position.î
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TSP Doubles Staff, Expands Facility

(June 29, 2009) If you're looking for an available desk at Texas Schools Project (TSP), you might not find one. In fact, a classroom down the hall from TSP offices has temporarily been turned into workspace to handle the influx of new staff.

Dan OíBrien, TSP Director, shares, "We're continuing to find greater interest in both evaluation services and data access requests." He continues, "In addition, there are a variety of new partnerships weíre pursuing that will require a larger workforce. As a result, we have expanded our staff to meet both our current needs as well as prepare for the future.î

Along with an expansion in staff comes an expansion of work space. Through a series of scheduled moves, TSP will, by September, increase the size of its facility by more than 3,000 square feet.
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TSP Launches Redesigned Website & E-Newsletter

(June 15, 2009) Texas Schools Project (TSP) has just launched its new website ñ www.utdallas.edu/research/tsp-erc.

ìI am very pleased with our new site,î says Dan OíBrien, TSP Director. ìIt allows us to share additional information about our work while highlighting our expertise in education research.î He continues, ìAs our organization continues to grow, this new website will help facilitate communication with researchers, policy makers, and others interested in education research.î
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Klopfenstein Joins TSP as Senior Researcher

(May 27, 2009) Kristin Klopfenstein joins Texas Schools Project (TSP) as a Senior Researcher on June 1. In addition, she has been appointed a visiting professor in the School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences at UT Dallas.

Klopfenstein is known nationally for her work in education and economics. Her research, which focuses on issues such as Advanced Placement course effects and minority student preparation, has been published in a variety of scholarly journals including Economics of Education Review, Contemporary Economic Policy and The Southern Economic Journal.
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UTD-ERC Launches Remote Access

(Apr. 24, 2009) The University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center (UTD-ERC) houses a wealth of data that is used extensively for academic research on education policy. The Center is now making this data more accessible to approved ERC research partners through remote access.
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Study Finds Preschool Programs Can Boost Test Scores

(Feb. 4, 2009) Dallas Independent School District (DISD) students who participated in Educational First Steps (EFS) preschool programs were shown in a recent UT Dallas study to perform significantly higher in elementary math and reading test scores than their peers.
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Data Holdings Update

As of November 1, 2009, our data holdings include data from Texas Education Agency (TEA) spanning the academic years 1991-2009, TEA testing data (TAKS) spanning academic years 2001-2008, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) data spanning the academic years 1990-2009, and State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) data spanning the academic years 1999-2008.

Additionally, we are in the process of verifying and converting additional TEA, THECB and SBEC files to STATA, SAS and SPSS formats.

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Page last updated on May 2, 2013.