IES Blog

Institute of Education Sciences

Connect with NCES Researchers at Upcoming Summer Conferences: STATS-DC, JSM and ASA

NCES staff will share their knowledge and expertise through research presentations, training sessions, and booth demonstrations at three notable conferences this summer (listed below). The NCES booth will be also be featured at exhibit halls where conference attendees can “ask an NCES expert,” learn how NCES data can support their research, or pick up publications and products.

NCES STATS-DC Data Conference

July 25 – 27
Washington, DC
The Mayflower Hotel

STAT-DC is NCES’ annual conference designed to provide the latest information, resources and training on accessing and using federal education data. Researchers, policymakers and data system managers from all levels are invited to discover innovations in the design and implementation of data collections and information systems. There is no registration fee to attend STATS-DCparticipants must complete registration paperwork onsite at the conference.

Key conference items:

  • Learn updates on federal and state activities affecting data collection and reporting, with a focus on the best new approaches in education statistics
  • Attend general information sessions on CCD, data management, data use, and data privacy, etc.
  • Partake in trainings for Common Core of Data (CCD) and EDFacts data coordinators
  • Attend data tools and resource demonstrations from NCES staff during designated times at the NCES exhibit booth.

NCES Staff Presentations:

Explore the full conference agenda. Some highlighted sessions are shown below.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 25

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Common Core of Data (CCD) Fiscal Coordinators' Training
District Ballroom

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Opening Plenary Session by Dr. Lynn Woodworth
Grand Ballroom

4:30 p.m. – 5:20 p.m.
Introduction to the Common Core of Data: America's Public Schools by Mark Glander
Palm Court Ballroom

9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
EDFacts and Common Core of Data (CCD) Nonfiscal Coordinators’ Training
Grand Ballroom

THURSDAY, JULY 26

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Title I Allocations by Bill Sonnenberg
Palm Court Ballroom

 

American Statistical Association – Joint Statistical Meetings

July 28 – August 2
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Convention Centre

JSM is the largest gathering of statisticians and data scientists in North America. Exchange ideas and explore opportunities for collaboration across industries with NCES staff and other statisticians in academia, business, and government.
 

Key conference items:

  • Review applications and methodology of statistics, such as analytics and data science
  • Attend technical sessions, poster presentations, roundtable discussions, professional development courses and workshops
  • Visit the NCES booth in the exhibit hall booth #227 and meet the NCES Chief Statistician, Marilyn Seastrom.

NCES Staff Presentation:

THURSDAY, AUGUST 2
8:35 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Educating the Government Workforce to Lead with Statistics by Andrew White
CC-East 10

 

American Sociological Association – Annual Meeting

August 11 – August 14
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Convention Center and the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown

Professionals involved in the scientific study of society will share knowledge and discuss new directions in research and practice during this annual meeting.

Key conference items:

  • Choose from 600 program sessions throughout the 4-day conference
  • Browse and discuss topics from 3,000+ research papers submitted
  • Swing by the NCES exhibit hall booth #211

 

Follow us on twitter (@EdNCES) throughout these upcoming conferences to stay up to date and learn the latest in education statistics. We hope you’ll join us whether in person or online!

ED/IES SBIR Awardee Leads Event Featuring Live Conversation with a NASA Astronaut in Space

On Wednesday June 27, 2018, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum held Space Innovation Day, an event to celebrate space exploration, STEM education, and students as makers. The event was co-developed by the museum and Future Engineers, a technology firm that is a current awardee of the U.S. Department of Education and Institute of Education Sciences’ Small Business Innovation Research Program (ED/IES SBIR). 

In the morning, the event featured a live conversation (called a “downlink”) between NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor on the International Space Station and Washington, D.C.-area students at the museum. After a brief introduction of Auñón-Chancellor as she floated around in the space station, students asked her a series of questions such as “What it is like to experience space?” and “What does it take to be an astronaut?”

The morning also included on-stage interviews with three students who won the Future Engineers Two For the Crew ChallengeThrough this national competition, sponsored by the ASME Foundation with technical assistance from NASA, K-12 students submitted a digital design of an astronaut tool intended to be manufactured on the International Space Station using a 3-D Printer. This tool allows innovative solutions to be provided to the astronauts immediately and means that NASA does not need to ship tools into space. One of the student winners designed “2 Pliers + 1 Handle,” a set of tool parts including needle-nose and lineman’s pliers with attachable handles. The 3-D printed multi-purpose tool can be customized into many different configurations when in space.

The challenge competition was run through a web-based platform that Future Engineers is developing with the support of a 2017 award from ED/IES SBIR.  The platform provides an online hub for students to create and submit solutions to innovation design challenges. Future Engineers is planning to launch the school version of their platform in the 2018-19 school year, with the goal of bringing many different kinds of maker design challenges to classrooms around the country across many areas of STEM for grades K to 12.

The afternoon of the event featured hands-on exhibits with educational opportunities for hundreds of students and museum attendees, including a 3-D design makerspace by Future Engineers, an augmented reality solar system experience by the Space Foundation, and a virtual reality space station experience by NASA.

We look forward to more maker design challenge events in the future!

Edward Metz is a program officer at the Institute of Education Sciences.

 

About ED/IES SBIR

The U.S. Department of Education’s Small Business Innovation Research program, administered by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), funds projects to develop education technology products designed to support students, teachers, or administrators in general or special education. The program emphasizes rigorous and relevant research to inform iterative development and to evaluate whether fully-developed products show promise for leading to the intended outcomes. The program also focuses on commercialization once the award period ends so that products can reach students and teachers and be sustained over time. ED/IES SBIR-supported products are currently used in thousands of schools around the country.

 

 

 

Results from a Study of the IES Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Grants

Funding research that makes it into classrooms and impacts the lives of students is an important goal for IES. One of the ways in which the Institute strives to make sure the work it funds is useful to education practitioners is through the funding of Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships (RPPs), which are grants to support researchers and education agencies working together to answer questions of high priority for the education agency. IES began funding these RPP projects in 2013 with the goal of supporting partnership development, initial research on problems of high priority for the education agency, and increasing the education agency’s capacity to use and understand research.

Because the RPP program is relatively new and little is known about the best way to frame and support these partnerships, IES funded the National Center for Research in Policy and Practice (NCRPP; an IES-funded national research and development center on knowledge utilization) to conduct a supplemental study to look at how researcher and practitioner partners form and maintain their partnerships, and strategies they use to increase research use by practitioners at the education agency. NCRPP also wanted to understand more about the IES RPP grant program in terms of funding amount, time frame, and Institute leadership and monitoring.

NCRPP just released its final report on the findings from the RPP study. In two waves of data collection, NCRPP distributed surveys and conducted interviews with key researchers and practitioners involved in 27 of the 28 RPPs funded by IES between 2013 and 2015. Findings from the report show that partnerships reported progress on goals related to developing findings that apply to other organizations and improving students’ socio-emotional outcomes. Additionally, researchers and practitioners both reported valuing their participation in the partnership work. Finally, when compared to a national sample of school and district leaders, practitioners who participate in an IES-funded RPP are much more likely to name journal articles as useful pieces of research and to indicate they integrate research processes into their own work.

You can read a summary about the findings on the NCRPP website here, or download the full interim report here.

Becky McGill-Wilkinson, NCER Program Officer for the Knowledge Utilization Research and Development Centers

What Are Threat Assessment Teams and How Prevalent Are They in Public Schools?

As part of the Safe School Initiative, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Secret Service authored a report in 2004 that described how schools could establish a threat assessment process “for identifying, assessing, and managing students who may pose a threat of targeted violence in schools.” School-based threat assessment teams are intended to prevent and reduce school violence and are adapted from the U.S. Secret Service’s threat assessment model.

The School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) collected data on the prevalence of threat assessment teams in schools for the first time in 2015–16 from a nationally representative sample of 3,500 K–12 public schools. The questionnaire defined a threat assessment team as “a formalized group of persons who meet on a regular basis with the common purpose of identifying, assessing, and managing students who may pose a threat of targeted violence in schools.” School-based threat assessment teams are usually composed of some combination of school administrators, teachers, counselors, sworn law enforcement officers, and mental health professionals.

While 42 percent of all public schools reported having a threat assessment team during the 2015–16 school year, the prevalence of threat assessment teams varied by school characteristics.


Percentage of public schools that reported having a threat assessment team, by school level and enrollment size: School year 2015–16

1Primary schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is not higher than grade 3 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 8. Middle schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is not lower than grade 4 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 9. High schools are defined as schools in which the lowest grade is not lower than grade 9 and the highest grade is not higher than grade 12. Combined schools include all other combinations of grades, including K–12 schools.
NOTE: A threat assessment team was defined for respondents as a formalized group of persons who meet on a regular basis with the common purpose of identifying, assessing, and managing students who may pose a threat of targeted violence in schools. Responses were provided by the principal or the person most knowledgeable about school crime and policies to provide a safe environment. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded estimates.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015–16 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2016. See table 35.


For example, a higher percentage of high schools (52 percent) than of middle (45 percent), primary (39 percent), and combined schools (28 percent) reported having a threat assessment team during the 2015–16 school year. Further, 57 percent of schools with an enrollment size of 1,000 or more students reported having a threat assessment team, compared with 31 percent of schools with an enrollment size of less than 300 students; 40 percent of schools with an enrollment size of 300–499 students; and 45 percent of schools with an enrollment size of 500–999 students.

Threat assessment teams were also more prevalent in schools that had at least one security staff[i] member present at school at least once a week during the 2015–16 school year (48 percent of schools with security staff present vs. 33 percent of schools without security staff present). The percentage of schools reporting a threat assessment team was also higher in schools that reported at least one violent incident[ii] had occurred at school during the 2015–16 school year (44 percent) compared with schools that had no violent incidents (35 percent).

How often a threat assessment team meets can be an indication of how active the team is in the school.  The majority of schools with a threat assessment team in 2015–16 reported that their teams met “on occasion” (62 percent), followed by “at least once a month” (27 percent), “at least once a week” (9 percent), and “never” (2 percent).


Among public schools that reported having a threat assessment team, percentage distribution by frequency of threat assessment team meetings: School year 2015–16

!Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
NOTE: A threat assessment team was defined for respondents as a formalized group of persons who meet on a regular basis with the common purpose of identifying, assessing, and managing students who may pose a threat of targeted violence in schools. Responses were provided by the principal or the person most knowledgeable about school crime and policies to provide a safe environment.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015–16 School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS), 2016. See table 35.


You can find more information on school crime and safety in NCES publications, including Crime, Violence, Discipline, and Safety in U.S. Public Schools: Findings From the School Survey on Crime and Safety: 2015–16 and the 2017 Indicators of School Crime and Safety.

 

By Rachel Hansen, NCES and Melissa Diliberti, AIR

 

[i] Security staff includes full- or part-time school resource officers, sworn law enforcement officers, or security guards or security personnel present at school at least once a week.

[ii] Violent incidents include rape or attempted rape, sexual assault other than rape (including threatened rape), physical attack or fight with or without a weapon, threat of physical attack with or without a weapon, and robbery (taking things by force) with or without a weapon.

 

Building Evidence: Changes to the IES Goal Structure for FY 2019

The IES Goal Structure was created to support a continuum of education research that divides the research process into stages for both theoretical and practical purposes. Individually, the five goals – Exploration (Goal 1), Development and Innovation (Goal 2), Efficacy and Replication (Goal 3), Effectiveness (Goal 4), and Measurement (Goal 5) – were intended to help focus the work of researchers, while collectively they were intended to cover the range of activities needed to build evidence-based solutions to the most pressing education problems in our nation. Implicit in the goal structure is the idea that over time, researchers will identify possible strategies to improve student outcomes (Goal 1), develop and pilot-test interventions (Goal 2), and evaluate the effects of interventions with increasing rigor (Goals 3 and 4).

Over the years, IES has received many applications and funded a large number of projects under Goals 1-3.  In contrast, IES has received relatively few applications and awarded only a small number of grants under Goal 4. To find out why – and to see if there were steps IES could take to move more intervention studies through the evaluation pipeline – IES hosted a Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting in 2016 to hear views from experts on what should come after an efficacy study (see the relevant summary and blog post). IES also issued a request for public comment on this question in July 2017 (see summary).

The feedback we received was wide-ranging, but there was general agreement that IES could do more to encourage high-quality replications of interventions that show prior evidence of efficacy. One recommendation was to place more emphasis on understanding “what works for whom” under various conditions.  Another comment was that IES could provide support for a continuum of replication studies.  In particular, some commenters felt that the requirements in Goal 4 to use an independent evaluator and to carry out an evaluation under routine conditions may not be practical or feasible in all cases, and may discourage some researchers from going beyond Goal 3.   

In response to this feedback, IES revised its FY 2019 RFAs for Education Research Grants (84.305A) and Special Education Research Grants (84.324A) to make clear its interest in building more and better evidence on the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions. Among the major changes are the following:

  • Starting in FY 2019, Goal 3 will continue to support initial efficacy evaluations of interventions that have not been rigorously tested before, in addition to follow-up and retrospective studies.
  • Goal 4 will now support all replication studies of interventions that show prior evidence of efficacy, including but not limited to effectiveness studies.
  • The maximum amount of funding that may be requested under Goal 4 is higher to support more in-depth work on implementation and analysis of factors that moderate or mediate program effects.

The table below summarizes the major changes. We strongly encourage potential applicants to carefully read the RFAs (Education Research, 84.305A and Special Education Research, 84.324A) for more details and guidance, and to contact the relevant program officers with questions (contact information is in the RFA).

Applications are due August 23, 2018 by 4:30:00 pm Washington DC time.

 

Name Change

Focus Change

Requirements Change

Award Amount Change

Goal 3

Formerly “Efficacy and Replication;” in FY2019, “Efficacy and Follow-Up.”

Will continue to support initial efficacy evaluations of interventions in addition to follow-up and retrospective studies.

No new requirements.

No change.

Goal 4

Formerly “Effectiveness;” in FY2019, “Replication: Efficacy and Effectiveness.”

Will now support all replications evaluating the impact of an intervention. Will also support Efficacy Replication studies and Re-analysis studies.

Now contains a requirement to describe plans to conduct analyses related to implementation and analysis of key moderators and/or mediators. (These were previously recommended.)

Efficacy Replication studies maximum amount: $3,600,000.

Effectiveness studies maximum amount: $4,000,000.

Re-analysis studies maximum amount: $700,000.

 

 

By Thomas Brock (NCER Commissioner) and Joan McLaughlin (NCSER Commissioner)