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In This Issue:

TSP Launches Redesigned Website & Monthly E-Newsletter

TSP Doubles Staff, Expands Facility

UTD-ERC Launches Remote Access

Researcher Profile - Kristin Klopfenstein

July Events

Data Holdings Update

TSP Launches Redesigned Website
& Monthly E-Newsletter

TSP just launched its new website - www.utdallas.edu/research/tsp-erc

Included in the redesigned site is information on:

“I am very pleased with our new site,” says Dan O’Brien, TSP Director. “It allows us to share additional information about our work while highlighting our expertise in education research.” He continues, “As our organization continues to grow, this new website will help facilitate communication with researchers, policy makers, and others interested in education research.”

In addition to the new website, TSP is also pleased to launch this monthly e-newsletter. Katie Patterson, TSP Communications Coordinator comments, "While the website will continue to provide the most comprehensive information on Texas Schools Project and the UT Dallas Education Research Center, our monthly e-newsletter will highlight recent news in a quick, easy-to-read format."

If you know of someone who would be interested in receiving our monthly e-newsletter, please visit the
E-Newsletter page of our website.
(read more)pdf

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TSP Doubles Staff, Expands Facility

If you're looking for an available desk at 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.

In June, eight new employees began working at TSP. Included in this group are Scott Horn, Data Manager; Kristin Klopfenstein, Senior Researcher; Kimberly Jones and Priyanka Singh, Research Scientists; and Michael Haydel, William Grover, James David Michael Latham, and Jing Li, Research Assistants.

Starting in July are Jim Parsons, Assistant Director, and Rodney Andrews, Senior Researcher.

"We're continuing to find greater interest in both evaluation services and data access requests," shares Dan O'Brien, TSP Director. He continues, "In addition, there are a variety of new partnerships we’re 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.”

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. Included in this expansion are additional work stations for visiting researchers.
(read more)pdf

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UTD-ERC Launches Remote Access

The University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center (UTD-ERC), part of Texas Schools Project, 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.

Because this is first time remote access has been achieved under Texas ERC regulations, it is an important milestone in education research in Texas. Previously, operating partners were required to travel to the UTD-ERC facility or work with an on-site research assistant to access data.

The first researchers to use this remote access are Christopher King, Director, and Deanna Schexnayder, Associate Director, with the Ray Marshall Center (RMC). The RMC is one of five UTD-ERC research partners approved by the Joint Advisory Board, the entity that oversees Texas’ designated ERCs, to access ERC data.
(read more) pdf

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Researcher Profile - Kristin Klopfenstein

Kristin Klopfenstein recently joined TSP as a Senior Researcher. 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. Additionally, she is co-editor on the forthcoming Harvard Education Press volume, "In Promise and Impact of the Advanced Placement Program," in which she also has two chapters: "Does the Advanced Placement Program Save Taxpayers Money? The Effect of AP Participation on Time to College Graduation" and "Advanced Placement Participation: Evaluating the Policies of States and Colleges."

Klopfenstein’s responsibilities at TSP include collaborating with principal investigators, organizing seminars that highlight the work of education researchers from across the country, supporting TSP’s work with the Communities Foundation of Texas- and Bill and Melinda Gates-funded Texas High School Project, participating in the federally-funded National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, and performing independent research with data housed at the UT Dallas Education Research Center (UTD-ERC). Of particular focus will be projects that examine the factors influencing low income, rural, black, and Hispanic students’ preparation for college and successful workforce transitions.

Currently, Klopfenstein is working two studies: “The AP Arms Race: Is Grade-Weighting to Blame?” and “The Impact of Block Scheduling on Student Outcomes.”

“The AP Arms Race: Is Grade-Weighting to Blame?” looks at whether students systematically increase their AP-taking in response to greater AP grade weights, and whether black, Hispanic, and low income students respond differently than the higher income white students who as a group have better information about the future value of AP-taking. To investigate these questions, Klopfenstein is analyzing student behavior at 788 public high schools in Texas between 2000 and 2004 using UTD-ERC data supplemented with grade-weighting data from a survey of counselors she conducted in 2003-04.

“The Impact of Block Scheduling on Student Outcomes” is a study examining the impact of block scheduling on student achievement outcomes such as standardized test scores, attendance, and core course passing rates for public high school students in Texas. Klopfenstein is using panel data from the UTD-ERC in this study.

In addition to estimating a general block effect on attendance and core course passing rates, Klopfenstein is also evaluating, as part of this study, the impact on first-time at-risk 9th graders and 10th grade science classes. Within each of these models, she is investigating a potentially important and entirely unexplored gender effect: if boys have more difficulty sitting through longer class periods, as suggested by recent research in educational psychology.

Klopfenstein has recently taken a leave of absence from her position as an Associate Professor of Economics at Texas Christian University. During her tenure at TCU she used the extensive student-level administrative database housed at the UTD-ERC for various projects.

Klopfenstein earned her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Colorado in 1999.

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July Events

July 30, 2009 – STATS-DC Conference (NCES Summer Forum & Data Conference)
Bethesda, MD
“Enhancing the Usability of Longitudinal Data: The University of Texas-Dallas ERC Model”
Dan O’Brien & Jim Parsons, presenters

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Data Holdings Update - July 1, 2009

The University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center (UTD-ERC), part of Texas Schools Project, houses a wealth of data provided by the Texas Education Agency, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and State Board for Educator Certification.

A complete listing of current data available can be found on our website under Data Holdings.

Information on accessing this data can be found on our website under Access.

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