The Texas Center for Educational Research conducts externally funded research in partnership with state agencies, institutions of higher education, and other research organizations. TCER strives to enhance the quality of public education through independent, nonpartisan research on contemporary educational issues and through the communication of research findings to those who make, influence, or implement educational policy. TCER's current research projects include:
GEAR UP: Students Training for Academic Readiness Evaluation
TCER is conducting a six-year evaluation of the Texas Education Agency's Students Training for Academic Readiness (STAR) project, which is funded through the federal Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant program. The STAR project seeks to improve college readiness in six south Texas school districts that serve large proportions of low-income and minority students through the combined efforts of state education agencies, public universities, community and business groups, as well as parents. TCER's evaluation will assess the effectiveness of the processes used to achieve STAR goals as well as the project's effect on student outcomes, including advanced course completion, increased graduation rates, and increased college enrollment. View evaluation reports here.
High School Redesign Project
In partnership with the Region One Education Service Center, TCER will draft a report documenting outcomes of the High School Redesign Project (HSRP) implemented across four school years in six high schools located in the Weslaco, Zapata County, and Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISDs. HSRP focuses on increasing high school students’ engagement in school through the use of small learning communities and student advocates. The report will focus on what educational policymakers and practitioners can learn from HSRP and how the lessons learned may inform ongoing efforts to improve American high schools.
Guidelines for Grade Level Promotions and Accelerated Instruction Programs
In collaboration with the Texas Education Agency, TCER is developing sets of research-based guidelines to support Texas schools in identifying and providing support for struggling and retained students. The Guidelines for Promotion Factors will provide a set of factors, based on research and best practices, that a school district may consider during the grade promotion process. The Guidelines on Effective Strategies for Developing an Accelerated Instruction Program will provide a set of research-based best practices and effective strategies that a school district may use in developing an accelerated instruction program to support students at risk of or identified for grade-level retention. Both sets of guidelines will support educators in ensuring that all students have the skills needed to be successful as they progress through school.
Texas Title I Priority Schools (TTIPS) Grants
TCER is currently providing support for districts and schools implementing TTIPS grants. The TTIPS grant program is focused on “turning around” low-performing campuses and improving the academic performance of all Title I schools. Schools are eligible for TTIPS grants if they are identified as “persistently lowest-achieving” or have met other criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education. More information on the TTIPS grant program is available on the Texas Education Agency website.
Texas’ Rural Technology Pilot (R-Tech)
The goal of the R-Tech Pilot is to provide technology-based supplemental instruction to rural Texas middle and high schools. The R-Tech evaluation provides an opportunity to examine how grantee districts and campuses implement technology-based supplemental instruction, and has the potential to inform policy about the use of technology-based supplemental instruction to support student and teacher learning, to expand course offerings to rural districts, and to improve student achievement. The R-Tech evaluation spans the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years. View evaluation reports here.
Evaluation of New Texas Charter Schools
TCER is currently completing a three-year evaluation of new Texas charter schools. The study focuses on the processes that guide the planning and early implementation of effective charter school programs as well as new charter schools’ use of federal Charter School Program (CSP) grant funds. The evaluation incorporates case studies of new charter schools’ planning and implementation years as well as data collected through surveys of new charter school students and their parents, teachers and school leaders, and individuals involved in the founding and planning of new charter schools. View evaluation reports here.