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  • December 4, 2008
    Think you know something about charter schools in your state? Don’t be so sure. According to a recent study from Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, misinformation about charter schools—even among charter advocates—is widespread.

    And that’s not all. The report, Evaluation of Indiana Charter Schools Effectiveness and Efficiency, looks at a host of charter school issues—enrollment and funding patterns, innovations, competition, accountability and student performance, authorizer support—and reveals some compelling findings. Among them: Indiana charter schools are either over-funded or under-funded, depending on whether you count the special funding they receive or the debt service, transportation, and capital projects funding they don’t receive. There are no practical differences in student performance in Indiana’s charter and traditional public schools, though limited data on high schoolers casts some doubt on that finding. And, there is a considerable lack of coordination and support among charter schools across the state, especially where special ed and advocacy are concerned.
    To read the report, click here.

    CEEP, Indiana's leading non-partisan education policy research center, promotes and supports rigorous program evaluation and education policy research primarily, but not exclusively, for educational, human services, and nonprofit organizations. Center projects address state and national education questions.
    To learn more about CEEP, click here.

    November 19, 2008
    As part of the Florida Public School Choice Consortium’s 4th annual conference, NCSC Director Mark Berends recently participated in a live web broadcast entitled, “Public School Choice: From Research to Practice.” The event focused on research showing what’s needed to make school choice successful—and how research practitioners can use it to help improve their school choice programs.
    Watch the archived broadcast by clicking here.

    September 15, 2008
    Beginning in January, NCSC Director and Vanderbilt Professor Mark Berends will move to the University of Notre Dame. Continuing in his role as director of the center, Professor Berends will take up his new position as professor of sociology and director of the Center of Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO). At the Vanderbilt location, Ellen Goldring will become the principal investigator of record, and Marisa Cannata will take on responsibilities as associate director alongside Dale Ballou.

    September 1, 2008
    With the help of a new survey, one NCSC project is digging more deeply into America’s classrooms this year to learn what makes schools work. The center is partnering with the UW-Madison’s prestigious Wisconsin Center on Education Research to bring its Survey of Enacted Curriculum (SEC) to teachers across the nation.

    The project is a study of policies and practices that promote success in schools, classrooms, and student performance. The SEC are confidential, online teacher questionnaires that collect information about what and how teachers teach, and then generate reports so they can “see” how their teaching patterns compare with state standards and assessment results. In effect, this unique research tool accomplishes what most do not, providing meaningful data to participant and researcher alike. “It’s a win-win,” says the project’s principal investigator, Mark Berends. “As we learn more about what teachers are doing and how they’re doing it, teachers get reports that help them do it better.” The What Makes Schools Work project is beginning its third and final year of data collection. Click here to learn more about it.

    August 18, 2008
    President George W. Bush announced his intention last month to nominate NCSC scholars Caroline Hoxby and Paul E. Peterson to be Members of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences. Two of Eight nominees, the professors are from Stanford University and Harvard University, respectively. Professor Hoxby’s term is due to expire in 2112, while Professor Peterson’s term will end in 2111. Read More.

    August 1, 2008
    The Handbook of Research on School Choice, the NCSC’s second in a series of edited volumes, went to press this summer. Following Charter School Outcomes, the Handbook broadens the school choice discussion with chapters on magnet schools, school vouchers, private schools, and other schooling choices such as virtual and homeschools. As such, it offers both national and international perspectives from a distinguished group of renowned education scholars. The book is due for publication by LEA/Taylor & Francis Group in early 2009.

    July 1, 2008
    The new book Leading With Data: Pathways to Improve Your School by NCSC scholars Ellen Goldring and Mark Berends hit bookstores just in time for back-to-school shopping. The hands-on guidebook helps principals collect, analyze, and use data to make meaningful instructional decisions with confidence. Part of the Leadership for Learning series, this resource examines the link between data-based decision making and continuous and sustainable school improvement, accountability issues, and shared mission and goals. It provides numerous examples and cases, sample forms, and a school improvement template.

    June 9, 2008
    Professor Mark Berends has been appointed to the editorial board of the American Educational Research Journal Section on Teaching, Learning, and Human Development. Read More.

    May 21, 2008
    Preparations are underway for the Peabody Professional Institute’s summer series of short-term programs for school leaders. The Institute for Higher Educational Management kicks off June 8, with a lineup of sessions for charter, independent, and Montessori school leaders to follow in July. Wrapping up the summer will be a week of workshops for school superintendents. As representatives from schools across the nation, selected participants are recognized as Summer Fellows of Peabody College. During their time on campus, they attend lectures and presentations, take part in discussions, and conduct case study analyses in small groups. The goal of the summer institutes is to equip these school leaders with the tools they need to bring greater success to their schools and careers. To learn more, visit the PPI website.

    April 1, 2008
    Data can help school administrators boost student achievement, support teacher performance and improve parent-school relations, according to a new book by Vanderbilt University education faculty. The book, Leading with Data: Pathways to Improve Your School, was written by Ellen Goldring, professor of education policy and leadership, and Mark Berends, associate professor and director of the National Center on School Choice at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development. It outlines how administrators can and should use data to improve their schools. Read More

    March 24, 2008
    NCSC researchers will head to the national conference of the American Educational Research Association. The theme of this year’s program is "Research on Schools, Neighborhoods, and Communities: Toward Civic Responsibility". Center scholars will be involved in panel presentations covering such topics as charter schools, school governance and policy, and supplemental education services.
    Read the papers

    March 17, 2008
    Research associate Marisa Cannata has won the American AERA Division L Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Award. Marisa is post-doctoral fellow in Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development. Her dissertation, “Where to Teach? Developing a More Comprehensive Framework to Understand Teacher Career Decision,” was completed at Michigan State University and supported by a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship in 2006-07. According to the dissertation award committee chair, “The reviewers thought the work was highly original in its use of theory to explain teacher labor market decisions and in its creative use and analysis of mixed methods data.”
    Vanderbilt View

    February 22, 2008
    Mark Berends is quoted in the Tennessean in an article on block scheduling, which most Metro high schools will implement next year to allow students to earn more course credits and take more classes they’re interested in, and thus—so goes the hope—increase school graduation rates. But according to Berends, what really makes a difference in schools is not how long and often classes meet, but what happens between teachers and students when they’re together.
    Read the Article

    January 1, 2008
    It’s a given that all charter schools are not created equal. So what do we know about New York City charter schools? Stanford University economist and NCSC partner Caroline Hoxby recently published a multi-year study of 42 of 60 NYC public charter schools. The study captures data on absolute test scores, value added performance, lottery in vs. lottery out and social demographics.
    Read the report

The NCSC is funded by a 5 year, $13.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. Its lead institution is Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The center is housed on the campus of Peabody College, one of the nation's top graduate schools of education.