The Voinovich School has a long history of education research and evaluation that is practitioner driven and provides insight into policy implications and practical application.
Primary research areas include:
- College access and success in the Appalachian region;
- The implementation of Value-Added Analysis and its role in informing classroom and building practices, promoting student achievement and identifying high performing schools;
- Development and effectiveness of leadership and collaboration networks among K-16 educators;
- Evaluation of K-12 programs;
- Promotion and evaluation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiatives;
- Education and its relationship to economic development;
- Early Childhood Literacy, Health and Education;
- Education and Health/Wellness
The Voinovich School is an active partner in the Ohio Education Research Center (OERC) a collaborative partnership among six Ohio universities (Ohio State, University of Cincinnati, Miami University, Ohio University, Case Western Reserve University, Wright State University) and four organizations (Battelle Memorial Institute, Battelle for Kids, Community Research Partners, and the Strategic Research Group) The OERC carries out a P-20 education research agenda in collaboration with ODE and the Ohio Board of Regents.
Engaging and Inspiring Students: Rural High School STEM Initiative
Jointly funded by the NEA Foundation and the AT&T Foundation, the purpose of this project is to increase teachers’ knowledge of science and experiential learning techniques and to enhance student engagement and interest in STEM-related coursework and careers. Over the past three years, The Voinovich School’s Ohio Appalachian Educators Institute (OAEI) has partnered with science and math teachers from six local high schools to provide intensive professional development workshops, develop new curriculum correlated with the Ohio Academic Content Standards, and coordinate interactive science experiences for students, including field research opportunities, technology contests, and visits to working science laboratories. Voinovich School professional staff members have also worked with the funders to document the program and its impact on students through the compilation of statistics, case studies and video footage.
Science Professional Development Seed Grant Evaluation
The Science Professional Development (PD) Seed Grant Evaluation was a multi-phase, statewide project evaluating the provision of professional development to science teachers. The first phase involved 10 university-led projects from around the state who were awarded “Seed Grants” to design an effective PD model in partnership with schools, teachers and community organizations. Phase II was the selection of two grants to receive substantial financial awards to implement their model on a larger scale. Phase III was a refinement of the models using feedback from the evaluator. As the project evaluators, the Voinovich School conducted classroom observations using the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) which focused on student-centered, constructivist teaching pedagogy. We also completed periodic phone interviews throughout the year, and guided teachers to document an entire unit as a portfolio.
The Ohio Education Research Center (OERC)
The OERC is a collaborative partnership where researchers from six universities (Ohio State, University of Cincinnati, Miami University, Ohio University, Case Western Reserve University, Wright State University) and four organizations (Battelle Memorial Institute, Battelle for Kids, Community Research Partners, and the Strategic Research Group) come together as a permanent education research center for the state of Ohio. Funded by a $3.8M award from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), the OERC carries out a P-20 education research agenda in collaboration with ODE and the Ohio Board of Regents. The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs was invited to represent Ohio University and is actively involved in three major projects:
This case study focuses on the gap between Appalachia Ohio and the rest of the state in producing, retaining, or attracting sufficient numbers of college graduates. While the educational attainment gap has begun to narrow, the region has made relatively few inroads in terms of narrowing the education/skills gap and garnering the ability to compete successfully in the global economy. The region's college-going, college retention, and college completion rates remain lower than any other region of the state. This case study is an in- depth examination of the processes and initial outcomes of the "Collaborating on Economic Success in Appalachia" project--one of the 14 regional high school-higher education alignment consortia awarded funding by the ODE. The primary focus is to address whether or not the collaborative is successful in addressing the five targeted areas of need: 1) increasing academic engagement of high school students, 2) improving math, reading, and science skills of high school students, 3) increasing social competencies and empowering students and their families, 4) decreasing non-academic barriers impacting student success, and 5) increasing college completion rates. Additionally, five participating districts will be selected as exemplar districts for more in-depth analysis that will enable a rich, vivid description of implementation and initial outcomes. This additional study will address the challenges the project faced and provide baseline and initial implementation year metrics related to high school course selection, high school teacher credentialing for dual enrollment, and the need for remedial coursework in college.
Student achievement growth is a significant component of Ohio’s new educator evaluation system, comprising 50 percent of a teacher’s annual performance evaluation. Given the range of subjects and grades taught by Ohio’s teachers and the lack of statewide standardized tests for every subject and grade, student growth will be measured via a diverse set of assessments — Ohio Achievement Assessments, approved vendor assessments, student learning objectives, and other local education agency (LEA) measures. The SGM: Policy and Practice study, led by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs in partnership with researchers from Wright State University and the Ohio State University, is a multi-year project focused on understanding 1) how well the various SGM components fit together and if they do not, how their fit may be improved; and 2) how well the 50 percent SGM element compares with the remaining 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation that is graded on state-specified performance rubrics and standards.
Student Growth Measures: Mini-Grants Study
Currently ODE does not test all grades and all subject matters in LEAs. To improve school accountability and effectiveness, the Mini-Grant project is studying implementation of extended testing (i.e., testing via approved vendor assessments in grades outside the 3-8 reading and mathematics grade/subject bands covered by the Ohio Achievement Assessments) in a small group of LEAs. The evaluation will include the following areas of inquiry: 1) Implementation: The project will critically examine the ongoing implementation of extended testing to identify successes and areas in need of improvement. This includes looking at the major implementation challenges, and best practices; identifying the “buy-in” of both the teachers and administrators; as well as discovering the factors that may increase the quality of participation. 2) Roster Verification: The use of roster verification for the extended Value-Added reporting will be analyzed for challenges and recommendations for improvement. 3) Educator Evaluation Systems: The evaluation will investigate the use of the extended testing data from the LEAs to inform the new state teacher and principal evaluation systems. 4) Best Practices and Lessons Learned: The evaluation will determine best practices, lessons learned, and recommendations for the state and LEAs moving forward with integrating measures of student growth.