Research News

Latest research on key education policies to be presented April 30-May 4

DENVER, Colo. – The latest research on the nation’s key K-12 and higher education issues, from No Child Left Behind to charter schools to higher education funding, will be presented by Vanderbilt University Peabody College researchers April 30-May 4 at the American Educational Research Foundation annual conference in Denver, Colo.

A sampling of the research is presented below. To view the full conference program, visit: . All times are Mountain Daylight Time. To schedule an interview with these or any Peabody researcher, contact Melanie Moran at (615) 322-NEWS or .

K-12 No Child Left Behind five years later: Trends and trade-offs in five states As Congress considers reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, Vanderbilt researchers Amanda Ochoa, Maida Finch, Jungmin Lee, Ryan Balch and Peter Trabert Goff will present findings of the first five years (2002-2007) of the act’s implementation from West Virginia, Colorado, Minnesota, Georgia and Illinois. The researchers will discuss achievement growth among subjects, grades and subgroups; contrast the responses from schools threatened by NCLB sanctions with those unaffected; and explore tradeoffs emerging as states attempt to achieve the goals of this policy.
Tues., May 4, 12:25 p.m. – 1:55 p.m .,Sheraton / Plaza Ballroom E

How NCLB choice provisions influence student achievement Vanderbilt researchers Bettie Teasley and Anna Nicotera will present research that finds student achievement drops after students change schools – one of the key provisions of No Child Left Behind. While the intent behind the policy is to allow parents zoned for underperforming schools the ability to benefit from stronger schools in the district, these findings indicate student achievement suffers as a result. Monday, May 3, 10:35 a.m. – 12:05 p.m .,Sheraton / Governor’s Square 15

Professional development and instruction across charter, magnet, private and traditional public schools Vanderbilt researchers Marisa Cannata and Robertal Penaloza and Mark Berends, University of Notre Dame, will discuss their findings of how professional development varies across school type, with charter school teachers receiving the most professional development with more of an emphasis on reform and collective participation and private school teachers receiving the least. The researchers will also discuss the policy implications, as professional development is seen as a key component for improving student achievement. Sat., May 1, 4:05 p.m. – 5:35 p.m .,Sheraton / Director’s Row H

The relationship between the timing of teacher hires and teacher qualifications Vanderbilt researcher Mimi Engel will discuss her findings about when teachers are hired and the link between the timing of teacher hires and teacher qualifications. Case studies suggest that many school districts hire a large portion of new teachers during late summer or once the new school year has already begun and that late hiring timelines in large urban districts result in the loss of highly qualified teachers to surrounding suburbs. Sunday, May 2, 12:25 p.m. – 1:55 p.m .,Sheraton / Governor’s Square 15

The impact of teachers’ opinion of students on teaching Vanderbilt researchers Lynsey Gibbons and Kara Jackson will discuss their findings that how teachers see students impacts their support of those students. High school math teachers who chalked up their students’ poor performance to the students being lazy or slow were less likely to help low-performing students than teachers who saw students’ poor performance as being linked to classroom instruction. These teachers took more responsibility for helping low-performing students. The researchers will make recommendations based on these findings that can increase access to high-quality mathematics instruction for all low-performing students. Friday, April 30, noon – 1:30 p.m., Colorado Convention Center / Room 605

Impact of merit pay plans in Texas on teachers and learning communities Vanderbilt researcher Coby Meyers will discuss his findings about changes in schools that participated in the completed Texas Governor’s Educator Excellence Grant pilot merit pay program. Teachers generally believed their merit pay plans to be fair but reported little change in effort, enthusiasm and teaching practices. In conflict with much of the previous research literature, teachers were frequently positive regarding the impact of merit pay on their professional learning communities. Tuesday, May 4, 10:35 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.,Sheraton / Governor’s Square 10

Development of VAL-ED and field trial design Vanderbilt researcher Joseph Murphy will provide an overview of the development of VAL-ED, the groundbreaking education leadership evaluation tool he and his colleagues launched three years ago, and how it has been tested in hundreds of schools since then to ensure that the assessment tool is valid, reliable and fair. Friday, April 30, 4:05 p.m. – 5:35 p.m.,Sheraton / Governor’s Square 14

Higher Education The place of education research in a science agency: A perspective from the National Science Foundation Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, will lead a discussion with Joan Ferrini-Mundy, assistant acting director of the Education and Human Resources Directorate at the National Science Foundation, about education research at NSF. The presentation will inform the audience and draw attendees into a conversation about current thinking and rethinking at NSF about Education and Human Resources Directorate-supported research and about the roles and challenges for the education research community.
Monday, May 3, 12:25 p.m. – 1:55 p.m.,Colorado Convention Center / Korbel Ballroom 1 EF

How long does it take state higher-education appropriations to recover from recessions? Vanderbilt researchers William Doyle and Jennifer Delaney will discuss how long, historically, it has taken states to return to pre-recession funding levels for higher education, and what influences that recovery rate. Preliminary results show a general trend to increase per-student spending in all states from 1963-2007. The researchers will also describe variance in the length of time each state takes to recover from various recessions. Monday, May 3, 12:25 p.m. – 1:55 p.m.,Colorado Convention Center / Room 107

The adoption of “no-loan” programs at public colleges and universities Vanderbilt University researchers Michael McLendon, Stella Flores and Toby Park will discuss how some of the nation’s most selective public institutions have rolled out no-loan programs following their initial launch by the Ivy League. By 2008, approximately 37 additional public institutions had adopted the programs. The researchers found that factors driving the adoption of such programs at public universities are reputational standing of the institutions and the absence of a state merit-based aid program. Monday, May 3, 8:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.,Colorado Convention Center / Room 107

The impact of interest groups on state funding of higher education Vanderbilt University researcher Michael McLendon and co-authors David Allen Tandberg, Pennsylvania Department of Education, and Erik Ness, University of Georgia will discuss their findings about how interest groups have influenced and shaped state higher education policy over the course of 30 years. The study fills a gap in the understanding of the impact of these groups on education policy reform. The results clearly show that the forces of interest groups are being felt as policymakers make decisions about the distribution of finite state funds. Tuesday, May 4, 10:35 a.m – 12:05 p.m.,Colorado Convention Center / Room 103. For more information about Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, visit . For more Vanderbilt news, visit VUCast: . Media contact: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS