To celebrate the re-opening of our blog, I am republishing our most popular piece, originally published in 2005 –  long before the movie version. Enjoy! 

MoneyBallAsked at a conference what I thought was the best book on education research I’d read recently, I was quick to answer, “Moneyball.” Moneyball? But that’s a baseball book! Well, yes and no. Michael Lewis’s story tells how Oakland A’s General Manager Billie Bean got the lowest payroll baseball team in America to challenge the American League record for consecutive wins; the A’s went on to repeated success by dispensing with preconceived notions of what makes for a good baseball player and letting comprehensive data analysis inform their decision making throughout the organization.

Many of the insights offered in the book are good re-tellings of the classic writings of baseball statistician William James. Here is just a sampling of insights from James that can be applied to education research: (more…)

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Mike Matsuda

We smiled when we learned that Mike Matsuda had been named Superintendent of Anaheim Union School District. We have been so pleased to partner with him through our work evaluating the Transforming Academic and Cultural Identidad through Biliteracy project, a three year National Science Foundation Math Science Partnership with California State University Fullerton designed to develop and study the impact of a dual-language (English-Spanish) math and science pathway in grades 7 and 8. (more…)

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Arroyo Research Services Study of Masters Degrees and Teacher Effectiveness

Interest in whether Master’s degrees may associated with improved teacher effectiveness is widespread. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2010), the number of teachers in the United States who hold an advanced degree has almost doubled over the past 50 years, with half of all teachers in the U.S. currently holding a Master’s degree. Across the nation, school districts offer monetary rewards to those teachers who hold advanced degrees, with the increase in salary averaging 11% (NCTQ, 2010). Additionally, districts often subsidize the cost of tuition, making it more affordable for teachers to earn these degrees. Between salary increases and tuition costs, districts are making substantial investments in a more educated workforce.

However, when taken together, the body of research examining the impact of holding a master’s degree on a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom suggests that advanced degrees are not associated with improved student outcomes (Clotfelter, Ladd, & Vigdor, 2007; Goldhaber & Brewer, 1997). A few studies have even found slightly negative effects on student achievement by teachers holding a Master’s, while several others report small but significant positive effects. The majority of published work finds no effect of teachers’ advanced degrees on students’ academic outcomes.

In a research brief summarizing the most recent findings in a three year study examining the effects of master’s degrees on teacher effectiveness, however, Arroyo Research Services found that elementary students whose teachers held a master’s degree performed statistically significantly better in both reading and language arts than students whose teachers did not hold a master’s degree.

The study was conducted in a single large suburban district in Georgia, using student, teacher and university data from 2004 through 2010, including performance on the Georgia CRCT assessments. The study includes analysis of over 200,000 student data points and more than 4,100 teachers. The study and associated frequently asked questions can be found here:

Master’s Degrees and Teacher Effectiveness: New Evidence from State Assessments

Master’s Degrees and Teacher Effectiveness: Frequently Asked Questions

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Dropout Recovery Report_Cover_Arroyo_Research_ServicesWe were pleased to release the Arroyo Research Services Evaluation of the Texas Dropout Recovery Pilot Program: Cycles 1 and 2 in May 2011. Conducted from 2008 through 2011, the evaluation assisted the Texas Education Agency in examining the effects of the TDRPP pay for performance model that directly tied project payments to demonstrated student academic progress and program completion. Full results and program descriptions are included in the link below; summary results are presented in the Executive Summary. Key findings from the evaluation include:

– Grantees served 4,141 students, twice as many as projected.
– 1,283 students completed the program by earning a high school diploma or demonstrating college readiness.
– The average TDRPP graduate is expected to earn $246,348 more in his or her lifetime than a high school dropout.
– TDRPP is expected to save the state $95.3 million in current dollars after accounting for initial program expenditures.


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