Skip Navigation
Stay Up-to-Date:

Works In Progress

REL Mid-Atlantic conducts applied research studies to address our partners’ research questions and provide policymakers and practitioners with information they need to increase their capacity to make data driven decisions. Applied research is critical for informing practice and effecting educational improvement. Works in progress are posted after project proposals have gone through a rigorous peer review process.

Learn more about our research studies currently underway.

Advanced Placement Participation, Staffing, and Staff Training in the District of Columbia Public Schools

Over the last decade, the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) has expanded its offerings of Advanced Placement (AP) courses and professional development of AP teachers. Several schools within DCPS have made certain AP courses mandatory for all students. The study will use historical data to describe trends in AP participation rates and test passing rates, teacher participation in the AP Summer Institute, and credentials of AP teachers.

Understanding DC High Schools’ Power to Promote Graduation and College Enrollment

This study aims to develop measures of the effectiveness of individual high schools in helping their students achieve long-term success. Specifically, the REL will help the District of Columbia (DC) Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) measure each DC high school’s power to promote high school graduation and college enrollment. Similar to growth models, these “promotion power” models generate a relative performance index on which schools can be compared. Rather than simply examining college enrollment rates of high school graduates, these models will allow OSSE to measure the impact of each high school on college enrollment.

Exploring the properties of a social and emotional learning and climate survey to inform evaluation and track progress in students in District of Columbia Public Schools

This study will assist the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) by exploring the properties and uses of data from their districtwide survey of social and emotional learning (SEL). The survey assesses a range of SEL competencies, including perseverance, self-management, self-efficacy, and social awareness, as well as school climate perceptions, including rigorous expectations, sense of belonging, and student satisfaction.

Predicting Early Fall Student Attrition in the School District of Philadelphia

This project will build the School District of Philadelphia's (SDP) capacity to employ sophisticated, but easy-to-use, machine learning algorithms (MLAs) to predict the probability that each student will remain in their assigned schools and classrooms. This project will provide SDP with predictions about which students will remain in their assigned schools and classrooms and which will leave during the early fall term. Several statistical methods will be used to generate the predictions. The resulting report will shed light on which prediction method produced the most accurate forecasts, and whether any method outperformed SDP's current forecasts. The results will inform choices for SDP and other districts coping with high, yet erratic attrition.

Describing Characteristics and Outcomes of High School Equivalency Exam Takers in New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Education has requested information about the three High School Equivalency (HSE) exams offered in the state: (1) the GED, (2) the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, and (3) the High School Equivalency Test. This study will offer New Jersey useful information about the characteristics of the test takers, their test performance, and differences among the tests. This will inform oversight of the HSE assessments, including the setting of cut scores and policies that could address barriers to access to some exams for certain groups.

Supporting Students with Health Conditions in District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)

This descriptive study will provide information about the prevalence of health conditions in DCPS, the outcomes of students with health conditions, and the access these students have to supports designed to help them. This information will help DCPS identify inequities and develop an action plan to better support students with health conditions in the future.

Effectiveness of Strategies for Presenting School Report Card Data to Parents

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that state education agencies disseminate school report cards that provide information about school performance, but leaves considerable latitude for how the report cards are designed. The design of information displays like school report cards can have a substantial effect on users. The goal of this study is to provide guidance about how these design choices influence comprehension of school report card contents and user experience.

Extension of Predictors of Near-Term Academic Risks

Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) and the Allegheny Department of Human Services (DHS) have requested a Just-in-Time study to compare the risk scores produced by predictive machine learning models to an alternative, simpler approach to identifying students with prior academic problems. A prior REL applied research study developed the predictive models, which generate risk scores for each student for five types of academic problems. The stakeholders would like to know how the two approaches compare in results and accuracy to inform whether the new system should be adopted.

Evaluation of the Impact of Structured Relationship-Building Teacher Home Visiting on Student and Teacher Outcomes

This study will evaluate the impacts of structured teacher home visits conducted as part of the District of Columbia Public Schools' (DCPS) Family Engagement Partnership (FEP) and Family Engagement Collaborative (FEC) programs. The study will provide information to help DCPS and other districts across the country determine the best ways to use their resources to improve parent engagement.

Exploring the Potential Role of Staff Surveys in School Leader Evaluation

The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) use a multi-measure school system called School Leader IMPACT to evaluate its school leaders. This measure currently combines student performance with ratings of principals' professional practice by their supervisors. This study aims to provide DCPS information about whether and how staff input could be incorporated as an additional measure of principal performance.

Evaluation to Study Pennsylvania's Innovative Teacher and Principal Residency Grants

Pennsylvania provides Innovative Teacher and Principal Residency Programs grants to institutions of higher education in the commonwealth to develop and provide year-long clinical experiences and intensive supports to aspiring teachers and principals. This study is evaluating how well the funded programs are doing in accomplishing the grant program's goals and collecting data on ways the programs can be approved.