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2007 IES Research Training Institute: Cluster Randomized Trials

Objective: To increase the national capacity to develop and conduct rigorous evaluations of the effectiveness of education interventions by training researchers to conduct cluster (group) randomized trials in education settings.
Type: Training
Dates: June 17 to June 29, 2007

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN
The Training Institute will be held at the Wyatt Center at Peabody College on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Vanderbilt University is located just five minutes from downtown Nashville, on a gorgeous 330-acre campus that is also a national arboretum. Buildings on the original campus date to its founding in 1873 and the Peabody section of campus has been a registered National Historic Landmark since 1966. Classroom instruction will take place in the Wyatt Center. Institute participants will be housed at the Embassy Suites Nashville at Vanderbilt. The hotel is located in Nashville's West End within walking distance of Vanderbilt University, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Nashville's Music Row.

Optimal Solutions Group, LLC is working with the National Center for Education Research to provide support for the Research Training Institute.

Project Website:
Links: MS Word Conference Description and Application Information in MS Word format (50 KB)
PDF File Conference Description and Application Information in PDF format (157 KB)
MS Word Frequently Asked Questions in MS Word format (24 KB)
PDF File Frequently Asked Questions in PDF format (104 KB)
Course Content: The course sessions will provide intensive training on planning, implementing and analyzing data from a cluster randomized trial.
View the Course Schedule.

The Course Will Enable Participants To:

  • Describe the principles underlying randomized experiments and their advantages for making causal inferences.
  • Understand the hierarchical structure of populations in education (students nested in classes nested in schools) and its implications for study design and analysis of data.
  • Select appropriate measures for assessing outcomes, describing implementation fidelity, and capturing process variables.
  • Acquire knowledge and strategies for designing and conducting a cluster randomized trial.
Faculty: Howard Bloom, Ph.D.
Chief Social Scientist, MDRC

Margaret Burchinal, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist and Director of the Data Management and Analysis Center at the FPG Child Development Institute;
Research Professor in Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

David S. Cordray, Ph.D.
Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University

Fred Doolittle, Ph.D.
Director of the Policy Research and Evaluation Department, MDRC

John W. Graham, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Health at Pennsylvania State University

Larry V. Hedges, Ph.D.
Board of Trustees Professor of Statistics;
Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

Mark W. Lipsey, Ph.D.
Director of the Center for Evaluation Research and Methodology and a Senior Research Associate at the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies, Vanderbilt University

Ina Wallace, Ph.D.
Senior Research Psychologist at RTI International

Training Institute Sponsor: The National Center for Education Research, one of four Centers within the Institute of Education Sciences, is organizing and providing financial support for this Training Institute. Faculty consist of leading researchers, with extensive experience in statistical analysis and implementation of cluster randomized trials.
Eligibility Requirements and Selection Criteria for Training Institute Fellows:
  1. Applicants must have a doctoral degree (PhD, EdD) and experience conducting research relevant to education.
  2. Applicants must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States, or must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card I-551, or other legal verification of such status).
  3. Preference will be given to individuals who (a) have demonstrated their ability to conduct independent research, (b) are currently employed in a setting in which conducting research relevant to education is part of their regular responsibilities, and (c) can demonstrate that they have a need for the knowledge and skills addressed in the Training Institute. Each application will be evaluated on its own merits. If more than 30 meritorious applications are received, the National Center for Education Research will take into account other criteria such as disciplinary, geographical, and institutional diversity.
  4. The Training Institute will include hands-on data analysis sessions. Fellows will need basic knowledge of SAS or SPSS.

The National Center for Education Research encourages women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities to apply. The National Center for Education Research encourages applications from postdoctoral fellows, junior researchers, and senior researchers who would benefit from the knowledge and skills addressed in the Training Institute.

If selected for participation, individuals who require reasonable accommodations for disabilities to participate in the Training Institute, should contact Dr. Caroline Ebanks, 202-219-1410 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, or via e-mail at at least 60 days before the course begins.

Costs and Stipends: The National Center for Education Research will pay for travel to and from the Training Institute site, lodging, and meals on days of instruction, and for course materials. Training Institute Fellows will be asked to pay a registration fee of $250.00 dollars. Fellows are responsible for the cost of meals in transit (to and from the Training Institute site) and on the weekend (June 23-24, 2007).
Application Procedures: The Training Institute will be offered June 17-29, 2007. If you are interested in attending the Training Institute, please submit the following materials:
  1. A copy of your curriculum vitae. Your curriculum vitae should include information on:
    1. Your title/position at your institution or organization
    2. Your academic/professional degree
    3. Your citizenship status (citizen or permanent resident)
    4. A list of currently funded research grants and the sources of funding
  2. A 1- to 2-page personal statement describing your current research projects and how the course will move your program of research forward.
Requirement: The personal statement is limited to 2 single-spaced pages in 12-point font and must be attached as a MS Word document or as a PDF file.

Completed application materials should be submitted via e-mail to

All applications must be received no later than Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Applications will be reviewed and applicants will be notified by April 3, 2007 via electronic mail. Selected applicants will receive the Training Institute course schedule and information about travel and lodging.
Points of Contact: RCT Training Institute inquiries:
Dr. Caroline Ebanks
National Center for Education Research
Institute of Education Sciences
555 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20208

Telephone: 202-219-1410

Inquiries about E-mail submission of the RCT Training Institute application materials:
Charlene Gatewood
Optimal Solutions Group, LLC
8100 Professional Place, Suite 312
Hyattsville, MD 20785

Telephone: 301-306-1170
Submission E-mail: