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Photo credit: Gillian Laub
Photo credit: Gillian Laub

Arroyo Research Services Senior Associate John Kucsera has been attracting considerable attention for his work with UCLA professor Gary Orfield on the extreme segregation still found in our nation’s school systems 60+ years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education court ruling. And contrary to what some may expect, the biggest problem is not found in the American South. In fact, a recent study by Kucsera and Orfield, who co-directs the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, discovered that the country’s worst segregation rates in modern day can be found in New York state’s schools.

Photo credit Warren K Leffler
Photo credit Warren K Leffler

And the problem doesn’t end there; demographic shifts in places like Southern California, which are representative of changes happening elsewhere in the country, signal a need for more proactive policies that favor integration across the country (see, for example, “Are We Segregated and Satisfied?” in the journal, Urban Education). While progress has been made since Brown for some students, issues like a growing Latino population, increasing socioeconomic disparity, school choice, and finance reform all have an impact on segregation rates. (more…)

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OLCTogether with Drs. Raymond Barclay and Barbara Weschke, Managing Director Kirk Vandersall recently released results from an Arroyo Research Services study of online teacher education in the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks published by the Online Learning Consortium (formerly the Sloan Consortium). The study presents findings from an investigation of the impact of teachers who graduated from a fully online master’s degree program with training in pedagogy and a content-specialization in elementary reading and literacy (oERL) on reading achievement in a large urban public school system in the northwestern United States. The research team used a non-equivalent group design and matched pairs of teachers based on degree, grade-level taught, and teaching experience to construct the study on three years of student and teacher data. The study consisted of 70 teachers and 3,828 student observations. Hierarchical linear modeling was employed to understand the teachers’ effects on student learning over time. Results indicate there was a significant positive effect of the oERL on student achievement. Broadly, this study is an example of a serious attempt to ascertain the impact of a high demand and fully online program on the community where graduates are employed. More narrowly, these results support the view that a fully online program aimed at training teachers can provide opportunities for those teachers to obtain the pedagogical content knowledge that can positively influence instructional effectiveness. Full text of the study can be found here via ERIC.

 

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September 3, 2015


The Super ShredderWhat’s obvious to some may be overlooked by others: working with sensitive documents requires an effective method of data destruction. More often than you might expect, we at Arroyo Research Services have to destroy confidential hard copy data. We specify how we do so in our Data Confidentiality Plan, but that section is really a secret test for our clients: if they read that part, they will surely ask about it! The Texas Education Agency, for instance, never commented on this line in a Data Destruction Report: (more…)

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September 3, 2015


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is designed to protect students and families from unlawful use and release of private data. It firmly undergirds how Arroyo Research Services handles data confidentiality and security, and it most often requires strict de-identification and/or prior written consent, if any access is allowed, before data is provided to third parties for the purposes of independent research.

Unfortunately, we find FERPA is often misinterpreted to mean that identifiable or non-consented data may never be released. That’s not actually the case.  (more…)

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As education researchers and evaluators, data security is mission critical. That’s why we’re committed to the strongest possible data security policies and practices to assure the confidentiality of student and teacher data. Just like larger firms, we adhere to a detailed Data Confidentiality Policy that keeps us in compliance with FERPA and related federal and state guidance. But we go a bit further, so we thought we’d share how we think about protecting student data and some of the practical steps we take to do so. (more…)

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