Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) is a proud partner of the Multnomah County Partnership for Education Research. This coalition, established in July 2013 with the University of Portland, supports research that informs educators and policy makers on issues related to student learning and teacher practice improvements. This is an opportunity for us to honor our roots as a Pacific Northwest-area research organization, to help kids in our home county, to advance our research agenda, and to leverage the research efforts of highly qualified local doctoral students investigating what is actually effective in schools.
Over a period of six years, NWEA will make a grant of $250,000 a year to create and fund the Partnership which engages the six public Multnomah County school systems, both individually and collectively, in research projects to support data-driven decision making. Two multi-district efforts are ramping up and are particularly noteworthy. As districts scramble to meet state mandated free full-day kindergarten classes starting in 2015-16, the first large-scale research project examines how student outcome measures (e.g., academic performance measures, attendance rates, etc.) of pilot full-day kindergarteners compare to similar half-day peers. The second study examines the implementation fidelity of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and compares the student outcome measures (e.g., GPA, Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate coursework, attendance rates, SAT/ACT scores, etc.) of AVID participants and similar non-participant peers. Results of these studies will equip district leadership in research-based decision making and inform strategic planning.
The partnership highlights how place-based long-term approaches to educational change occur through the sustained efforts of multiple stakeholders. NWEA is honored to contribute to such local endeavors.