|Principal Investigator(s):||Heath J. Prince, PhD
|Sponsor(s):||City of Austin
|Project Duration:||November 2017 – November 2018
|Description:||The Ray Marshall Center entered into an interlocal agreement with the City of Austin for process development, data collection, and analysis of youth-focused programs in science, technology, engineering, math, creative, and entrepreneurship workforce development programs.
Ray Marshall Center researchers will work with stakeholders, workforce organizations, local businesses, and local school districts, using a collective impact model framework, to establish regional baseline metrics to classify and assess current youth focused programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Creative, and Entrepreneurship (STEM-CE) for study and careers. Through the course of this assessment, the RMC will develop appropriate measurement instruments and techniques, produce a report describing current relevant activities, and propose methods and processes for the future evaluation of youth STEM-CE programming.
This assessment of Austin STEM-CE programming will provide insight as to how scarce public resources can be leveraged to secure private participation in the development of a future pipeline of workforce, filled by the city’s current youth in poverty, which will connect to quality jobs in Austin’s future economy. Findings will be used to propose policy recommendations for Mayor and Council to consider that will enable program development or expansion to properly encourage students from backgrounds in poverty to enter into STEM-CE fields of study and careers. Some goals of future STEM-CE interventions may include changing attitudes about STEM-CE fields among students participating in such related programming, as well as improving their academic performance in STEM-CE subjects.
Austin Community College Student Money Management – Implementation Evaluation: Program Description and Timeline
Authors: Cynthia Juniper, Greg Cumpton, and Ashweeta Patnaik
Date: June 2017
Publication Type: Report, 29pp.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded Austin Community College (ACC) $1.7 million to develop programs to help students understand smart money management and college financing. The grant, “Achieving Student Success through Financial Aid Education and Financial Literacy,” funds initiatives to teach students about money management and to help the ACC community understand the connection between students’ academic and financial goals. The Student Money Management Office (SMMO) was established to manage services and activities including text message alerts about financial aid requirements and deadlines, enhancements to the web-based Degree Map planning tool, creation of an online presence using various social media platforms, outreach and awareness campaigns for students, and professional development for faculty and staff.
Currently, four staff manage the SMMO project with guidance from an 18 member Advisory Board. The ACC Student Money Management Project Timeline [beginning on the second page of the report] is a brief month by month description of project activities. The information contained in this report was gathered from a number of sources: the ACC and SMMO websites, SMMO Advisory Committee updates, interviews with program director Karen Serna, and various program documents. The remainder of this report presents detailed information regarding each specific initiative, progress made on the implementation of the initiative, followed by recommendations for the next program year.
Evaluation of ACC-SIP Initiatives: Baseline Assessment
Date: June 2017
Publication Type: Report, 18pp.
As a first step in the evaluation, the evaluation team conducted a baseline assessment by examining students who entered ACC in the five years prior to the grant being implemented. The goal of this baseline assessment is to provide information on the student outcomes that the SIP grant aims to change, by establishing pre-operation exposure conditions of key outcome indicators, retention rates, graduation rates, time to completion, and cohort loan default rates.
The baseline also provides an information base against which to monitor and assess the grant’s progress during implementation, and after the grant has ended. The baseline provides a critical reference point for assessing changes and impact. Over the grant implementation period, RMC will measure progress along these key outcome indicators and track any changes compared to the baseline. The goal is to provide actionable information about the success of the intervention while each successive cohort of recipients is in the process of receiving services, allowing for relatively rapid reflection and program modification as needed by ACC staff.
On April 26, 2017, Heath Prince attended the “Improving Educational Experiences and Outcomes for Young Men of Color” meeting hosted by the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) and the Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. The meeting, held at the Etter-Harbin Alumn Center on the University of Texas at Austin campus, convened local and national experts and focused on education policy and practice as it relates to boys and young men of color. The meeting was part of the 2017 Annual Gathering of Leaders: Austin, TX, also held on campus from April 26-28th, with this year’s theme being Boys and Young Men of Color: Innovators, Creators, and Game Changers. You can read more about the meeting here and the conference here.
|Principal Investigators:||Greg Cumpton, PhD and Michael Villarreal, MPP (Co-Principal Investigator)|
|Sponsor(s):||City of San Antonio|
|Project Duration:||March 2017 – December 2017
|Description:||Since the start of Texas’ public prekindergarten program, policymakers and education leaders have attempted to raise its quality. A recent survey of public prekindergarten programs found that 49 percent of local school districts offered students a full-day of prekindergarten; while 59 percent of districts adopted policies that limit class size, staff-to-student ratios, or both (Children at Risk, 2014). More recently, Governor Abbott has successfully advocated for funding to demonstrate and evaluate the effects of higher quality prekindergarten on student outcomes. At the local level, the City of San Antonio initiated an ambitious plan to demonstrate the value of high-quality prekindergarten by funding four demonstration centers, professional development for public school prekindergarten teachers, and grants to school districts to increase the quality of their programs.
Pre-K for SA (PK4SA) is the city agency leading the implementation of San Antonio’s prekindergarten investment. PK4SA has hired the Ray Marshall Center to be its research and evaluation partner to provide its first study of the effects of its high-quality prekindergarten on near and long-terms student outcomes. Moreover, PK4SA is engaging Ray Marshall Center to conduct its evaluation of PK4SA within a larger study of Texas’ public prekindergarten program with the goal of determining how the quality of public prekindergarten programs can be incrementally improved to have longer lasting positive effects on student outcomes.
High-quality early childhood education has proven to be a cost-efficient strategy for increasing the cognitive and non-cognitive abilities of participating students. This study extends the current research on early education by investigating heterogeneous effects on long-term student outcomes. This study will explore if certain programmatic aspects of prekindergarten have a greater effect on student outcomes than others. It will also explore if all student subgroups benefit from public prekindergarten and if certain groups benefit more than others. This study uses data from the state’s student longitudinal data system, which includes student outcomes from prekindergarten through their postsecondary education and employment. This study also benefits from the cooperation of local school districts in Bexar County who have agreed to share district tests of prekindergarten and kindergarten students. This supplemental data will be used in a regression discontinuity analysis to check the robustness of statewide results that are produced from a regression analysis using propensity score matching and fixed effect techniques.
Dr. Ray Marshall remains heavily involved in education-related issues, particularly in his work with the National Center on Education and the Economy, whose board he co-chairs. NCEE has done extensive international education benchmarking; operates the National Institute for School Leadership, the nation’s largest organization to train principals for high-performance schools; and is working with the National Conference of State Legislatures and a number of states to develop high-performance school systems based on models derived from international best practice. The Center’s goal is to help create a world-class education system that will effectively educate all Americans to high international standards.
RMC Senior Research Scientist Dr. Chris King presented a keynote talk “The Promise of Emerging 2-Generation Antipoverty Strategies” at The College for Behavioral Health Leadership’s 2-Gen Summit held at Lifeworks, Austin, TX on January 25, 2017. The Austin summit, titled “Dialogue 1: Expanding our Boundaries – Connecting Causes and Consequences,” is the first in a series of three events being held to address issues in the health care environment, opening dialogues to address core leadership capabilities essential to the future.
Several RMC researchers attended the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management’s (APPAM) 2016 Fall Research Conference, The Role of Research in Making Government More Effective, held at the Washington Hilton in DC from Nov. 3-5. Dr. Heath Prince along with Dr. Chris King, Dr. Daniel Schroeder, Ashweeta Patnaik, and Sam Storey were all in attendance, with Chris, Daniel, and Ashweeta presenting some of their work as detailed below.
Social Science Research Associate Ashweeta Patnaik presented two posters. The first poster, presented on Nov. 3rd, highlighted the findings from the Center’s impact evaluation of the Gulf Coast IT Pathways project. In addition to sharing findings regarding the program’s impacts on participants’ education and labor market outcomes, she also focused on the challenges associated with evaluating a large multi-state consortium initiative. Her second poster, presented on Nov. 5th, highlighted the findings from the Center’s impact evaluation of Project GROW. Ms. Patnaik shared how the complex design of the demonstration project (which included multiple sites, differentiated service delivery and multiple program offerings) influenced the impact evaluation design and analysis, along with the evaluation’s findings regarding the program’s impacts on participants’ education and labor market outcomes.
Research Scientist Dr. Daniel Schroeder presented a paper on Nov. 4th demonstrating the success of a near-universal child support system known as the Texas Integrated Child Support System (ICSS). His presentation was part of a panel discussion “Noncustodial Fathers’ Contributions: Recent Trends and Consequences of Child Support Policy in the United States.”
Senior Research Scientist Dr. Chris King organized and chaired a roundtable on “Global Perspectives on Policies to Protect Workers” on Nov. 5th. Professors Hastings and Heyes from Sheffield University’s WOERRC, as well as Karen Livingston with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and Ludek Rychly with the International Labour Office in Geneva, presented at the roundtable. Ms. Livingston is an LBJ alum (Class of ’02) and a past president of the LBJ School Alumni Association.
The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce (GACC) and Austin Community College (ACC) Task Force convened to sketch out a blueprint for ACC that will take them forward through the next several years. RMC is providing input into ACC’s Progress Towards Excellence 2016 Report. The report aims to position ACC as a premier community college in the US and to better meet the needs of Central Texas business.
RMC researchers Cynthia Juniper and Heath Prince co-authored a report that has recently been added to the Southern Illinois University-Carbondale’s Online Journal for Workforce Education and Development (OJWED). The report, Behavioral Economics and Workforce Development: A Review of the Literature from Labor Economics and the Broader Field, is intended to explore the strengths and limitations of applying tools of behavioral sciences to increase the participation and completion rate of training for lower-wage, front-line incumbent workers in ways that benefit both workers and sponsoring firms. You can view OJWED’s publication here.