Areas of Focus
Our team has a wide range of experience and capabilities, but much of our work can be captured in six broad focus areas:
CNA has over 40 years of experience analyzing issues related to the recruitment, retention, assignment and evaluation of teachers and other public employees. Our analysis of the teacher workforce includes studies on pay and retention, qualities of good teachers, and the pipeline for new teachers. We have also examined the effects of teacher characteristics, teacher assessments, and national certification programs on student outcomes.
Using Data to Support Decisions
Over the last ten years, researchers and policymakers increasingly have emphasized the importance of using data to support decision-making in education. Our analysts have been at the forefront of mining data systems and using longitudinal data to analyze policy proposals, monitor operations, and investigate the effectiveness of programs.
College and Career Readiness
Ensuring students are well prepared for success in college and careers, managing transition, and reducing risk of dropout have become a focus of education reform initiatives. CNA Education has expertise in investigating pathways to success and barriers to individual accomplishment. Our work has also focused on policies designed to reduce the gaps in educational attainment and performance among students from various socio-demographic backgrounds, analyzing career and technical education programs, and understanding dropout trends.
Early Childhood (Pre-K) Education
A large and growing body of research shows that a good start is critical for developing learning ability and promoting lifelong educational attainment. Policymakers have responded by directing considerable resources to early childhood education. CNA has analyzed early childhood education, including the effectiveness of curricula and professional development programs, implications of a state pre-K program on access to and enrollment in pre-K programs, and the quality of program offerings.
Assessment and Accountability
The passage of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) initiated major changes in accountability and assessment policy and practice. Examining the characteristics and effectiveness of federal and state accountability systems is a major focus of CNA analysis. We assisted a district with the design of a local accountability system, examined the alignment between a state assessment and nationally recognized standards, and studied the implications of a state-level NCLB accountability system.
Effective Use of Technology
Recent advances in technology offer opportunities to improve access to and quality of education at all levels. However, developers of curricula and other products have encountered challenges integrating technology into their services. Investments and experiments in technology have led to questions about whether it actually improves teaching, learning, and student outcomes. CNA has considerable experience in evaluating the effectiveness of technology-based programs and analyzing issues related to the organization of virtual schools.
- Applied research
- Policy analysis
- Program evaluation
- Technical assistance
- Quantitative and qualitative analysis
- Randomized controlled trials
- Quasi-experimental design studies
- Summative and formative evaluation
- Statistical and econometric analysis
- Fidelity of implementation analysis
- Cost-benefit analyses
- Interviews, surveys, and focus groups
- Document analysis
- Literature reviews
- Case studies and site visits
- Working with large-scale databases
- Webinars, meetings, and events
- What Works Clearinghouse-certified research reviews