About Us

Under Goal 3 of the IES Education Policy, Finance and Systems Research Program, this project seeks to improve student learning and achievement by identifying successful approaches (or the variables that will increase success) in the organization and management of SES programs within school districts and effective strategies for the design and delivery of SES programs by approved SES providers. We are employing a longitudinal mixed method study design including in-depth field research on the implementation of SES and rigorous nonexperimental evaluation methods to estimate its impact on students mathematics and reaching achievement and their performance in regular school courses. The field research involves repeated observations of SES sessions with different providers, interviews with SES tutors and program directors, interviews with district and state officials, focus groups and parents and analysis of relevant policy and instructional documents. We are using an interrupted time series design with internal comparison groups and multiple nonexperimental approaches to estimate SES impacts.

The study involves six urban school districts in five states: Austin, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This will allow us to examine how state and local educational agency activities influence the implementation of SES – including curriculum and instructional practices and policy and administration – and what impact SES has on students’ academic outcomes (as measured by changes in test scores, course grades and grade point averages.)

Integrated Qualitative and Quantitative Approach
The qualitative and quantitative components are tightly linked to maximize what is learned about factors at the classroom (instructional setting), provider, district and state levels that contribute to program effects and to inform improvements in SES programs and policy. For example, in-depth, systematic, qualitative observations of tutoring practices across settings inform the design of impact models. Quantitative data informs the procesess and practices that we choose to study in depth in the field work over time.

The following major questions anchor our study:

  1. How can school districts maximize participation in SES by those students who are eligible and most likely to benefit?
  2. What factors influence parent and student choices in selecting (and staying with SES providers)?
  3. What are the key characteristics of different program models of SES tutoring as enacted by providers and as regulated by districts and states, and how do they influence SES net program impacts?
  4. What is the net impact of SES on student achievement?
  5. What are the policy levers and program administration variables that state and local educational agencies can use to increase SES program effectiveness?

Research Team Members

Senior/Key Personnel
Carolyn Heinrich | cheinrich@austin.utexas.edu
Patricia Burch | pburch@usc.edu
Rob Meyer | rhmeyer@wisc.edu

Field Research Team
Annalee Good: Research Director; field researcher (Milwaukee and Chicago) aggood@wisc.edu
Molly Stewart (Minneapolis and Chicago) msstewart@wisc.edu
Rudy Acosta (Los Angeles) acostar@usc.edu
Christi Kirshbaum (Austin and Dallas) christi.kirshbaum@utexas.edu
Jahni Smith (Los Angeles) jahnismi@usc.edu

Quantitative Research Team
Emily Cheng hcheng6@wisc.edu
Emily Kao Kopfensteiner ekopfensteiner@utexas.edu
Marcus Dillender
Hiren Nisar

General project contact

Call toll-free: 1-855-471-1700

This project is a joint effort of the Center for Health and Social Policy at Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California, and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and Value-Added Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.