April 7, 2011
For Immediate Release

Contact: Connie Custer
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
703-824-2100 O
703-585-6827 C

Alexandria, Va. — CNA Education researchers will be among the presenters at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting to be held April 8-12 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The theme of this year’s meeting,“Inciting the Social Imagination: Education Research for the Public Good” is intended to encourage submissions that address the conceptual, methodological, policy, and pragmatic challenges and opportunities in re-imagining the promise and potential of education research. The annual AERA meeting attracts leading education researchers from across the United States and around the world.

Three CNA researchers: Justin Baer, Ph.D., Laura Holian, Ph.D. and Christine Mohker, Ph.D., will present on the following topics:

•  “Predicting Chronically Underperforming Schools Nationally: Further Lessons From Chicago” – Dr. Baer
As more schools face remediation for missing targets specified under No Child Left Behind, the multitude of factors that predict school success or failure stand as one of the key policy issues of our time. Drawing on data from state education departments and federal sources (Department of Education and the U.S. Census Bureau), we investigate the range of school and community indicators associated with the designation of a school as “chronically under-performing.” Our analysis draws on the work of Bryk et al. (2010) in Chicago as a framework, providing an opportunity to evaluate the degree to which a model for school reform that emerged locally can be applied nationally.

•  “The Importance of Data Validity and Reliability in Program Evaluation” – Dr. Holian
Many states are working to expand access to pre-kindergarten in order to improve school readiness and decrease early achievement gaps. But increased participation in pre-kindergarten improves readiness only where programs are of high quality. The instruments used, and the individuals conducting assessments, can influence measures of classroom quality. Education agencies rely on evaluations of classroom quality when accrediting programs and applying for funding. If the data are not valid and reliable, they provide little value and can hinder efforts to improve readiness. The purpose of this paper is to describe one state's experience using the ECERS-R to measure quality and issues related to reliability, validity, missing data, and data management.

•  “Effects of a Hybrid Program for Algebra I on Grade 9 Students' Mathematics Achievement.” – Dr. Mohker
This study quantifies the effectiveness of an intervention that combines online instruction with face-to-face classroom teaching to increase student achievement in grade 9 Algebra I. The Kentucky-based RCT uses a two-cohort sample of 47 high schools (24 treatment and 23 control) to generate a randomized sample that comprises almost 7,000 students from mostly rural schools. The study uses two-level hierarchical models to assess differences in outcomes between the treatment and control schools. The first outcome measure is students’ scores on the pre-algebra/algebra portion of the PLAN test and the second is students’ subsequent math course enrollment in the post-intervention year. The analysis also examines how the impact of the hybrid program varies by gender and school locale.

CNA Education helps policymakers and practitioners improve the quality of public education by providing critical decision-making support. Its approach combines the scientific rigor of a research institution with a firsthand understanding of education issues and their real-world implications. CNA analysts solve problems with objective scientific methods, evidence-based analysis, on-scene field experience, and absolute data integrity.

CNA Education also operates the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Appalachia, one of a network of ten laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. REL Appalachia provides extensive technical assistance and research support to educators and policymakers in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

CNA is a not-for-profit company which serves the public interest by providing in-depth analysis and results-oriented solutions to help government leaders choose the best course of action in setting policy and managing operations. CNA: Nobody gets closer — to the people, to the data, to the problem.