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Overview

National Center for Teacher Effectiveness (NCTE)
www.gse.harvard.edu/ncte
With federal funding, NCTE is working with over 200 teachers in over 40 schools in Washington, D.C., Georgia, and Massachusetts. The project has collected more than 1,100 hours of digital video of classroom math teaching along with more than 5,000 student surveys and assessments. NCTE will translate the results into a suite of practical instruments for use by teachers, schools, and school districts. NCTE’s research has been featured in The New York Times, Time, and Education Next.

Strategic Data Project (SDP)
www.gse.harvard.edu/sdp
With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, SDP is working with a growing network of school districts, charter schools, and state education agencies (currently over 35 of them) to transform their use of data for management and policy decisions. The program recruits and places data analysts inside each of the agencies and regularly convenes them for training and networking. Through SDP, CEPR is building a new profession of analytic leaders in education.

Best Foot Forward Project
Funded by Kenneth C. Griffin and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Best Foot Forward Project is exploring whether video technology can make the classroom observation process easier to implement, less costly, and more valid and reliable. Further, by putting cameras in the hands of teachers and allowing them to select their best lessons for evaluation, the study aims to learn whether digital video can make the observation process more acceptable to teachers. In 2013, the project was piloted in 100 classrooms in New York City, Georgia, and North Carolina. Currently, 400 teachers and their principals from districts in Delaware, California, Colorado, and Georgia have joined the impact evaluation as the project team examines whether digital video can improve teaching practice and student outcomes, and ultimately  transform the way classroom observations are implemented in classrooms around the country.

Evaluation Projects
Building on its relationships with school districts around the country, CEPR has become the portal through which academic researchers from Harvard and elsewhere reach out to school leaders. School districts are drowning in data, but often have little analytic capacity; university researchers have analytical tools, but not the time to build and maintain relationships. CEPR brokers those connections in initiating evaluation projects. These are focused in three areas:  human capital strategies, strategies to improve student postsecondary success, and school reform models. Recent evaluation projects include:

  • The Achievement Network (ANet)
    Funded by the Federal Government through i3, this is a rigorous evaluation of The Achievement Network’s impact on school outcomes. ANet provides interim assessments and data-driven strategies to schools to identify and close gaps in student learning and attempts to embed those strategies into schools’ everyday routines. This study is using a school-level random assignment design to estimate the impact of ANet. Study sites include Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Chicago.

  • TNTP’s Performance Assessment System 
    Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this study is examining the relationship of TNTP’s evaluation system for new teachers to student outcomes in Louisiana. Scholars from Brown University and the University of Michigan are also involved in this work.

  • Measuring Student Mind and Brain Change in Education
    Working with researchers at MIT and the National Center on Time and Learning, this study will examine quantifiable mechanisms in the minds and brains of students that are associated with high-impact education and associated with important life success outcomes, such as educational attainment. Remarkably, there is little to no evidence about whether variation in school effectiveness relates to beliefs and habits, cognitive capacities, or underlying brain structures and functions, or how such measures may predict, beyond test scores, future educational and life outcomes. Boston is the primary study site.

  • The Boston Teacher Residency 
    Sponsored by the Boston Plan for Excellence, this work examined characteristics of Residents relative to other Boston novices, relative retention rates, and, most importantly, student outcomes.

  • Review of Student Achievement Trends and Incidence of Socioeconomic Disadvantage in Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) 
    In this Broad Center funded project, we provided an overview of recent patterns in student achievement in WCPSS based on salient student characteristics, such as race/ethnicity and free and reduced-price lunch eligibility. In addition to overall trends in student achievement across all groups, we highlight important trends in achievement gaps between groups.
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Backed by considerable expertise, CEPR is diving into all available education data to find answers to critical questions in education reform. As legislators and educators implement necessary changes in schools, I applaud the team at CEPR for taking on this essential work on behalf of America's children."

– Michelle Rhee, CEO and Founder, StudentsFirst
Projects

NCTE Strategic Data Project