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.
|Principal Investigator:||Christopher T. King, Ph.D|
|Sponsor(s):||Literacy Coalition of Central Texas and Houston Center for Literacy|
|Project Duration:||July 2016 -July 2017
|Description:||The Ray Marshall Center (RMC), with support from the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas (LCCT), will conduct an evaluation of English@Work’s benefits and costs for participating employers, a required component of LCCT’s grant from the Houston Center for Literacy-English@Work which was launched as a small nonprofit in Austin in 2005 and was subsumed by the LCCT in January 2014, is a unique approach to teaching English-language skills by contextualizing, customizing, and providing them in the workplace. Early results indicated that this approach substantially outperformed more traditional approaches that rely heavily on classroom instruction, provide few hours of actual instruction per week, and/or fail to contextualize and tailor instruction in the setting and language of the workplace. Students made larger gains on various literacy measure more quickly than these more traditional approaches. And, students indicated that they felt more motivated to learn in a cohort of their peers that was situated within their workplace. After three years evolving and growing under the auspices of the LCCT, the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) Site-based Workplace Literacy Project has provided grant funding to scale up English@Work in Austin and expand it to the Houston area over the period from May 2016 to June 2017. The grant from TWC will support literacy and career services for more than 700 participants and plans to provide credentials or certificates of completion for around 490 of these participants over the grant period.
The RMC evaluation will address two questions, as follows:
This evaluation strives to capture near-term outcomes and ROI for employers whose employees receive English@Work services within the resources available to the grant. Outcomes will largely be based on employer perceptions of the results within a relatively immediate timeframe. A more comprehensive evaluation is planned for the future if additional funding can be secured.
||Greg Cumpton, PhD
|Sponsor:||Austin Community College|
|Project Duration:||October 2015 to August 2020
|Description:||ACC proposes to establish an Office of Student Money Management (ACC-OSMM) – the office’s mission would be to give a stronger foundation to students’ academic and career goals and successes by helping them take charge of their financial futures.Two of the inaugural activities of ACC-OSMM will be:
ACC hopes to demonstrate that the activities of ACC-OSMM would be linked to improvements in measures of student success such as: graduation rate, time to completion, retention/persistence, and cohort loan default rate (CDR). ACC will partner with the Ray Marshall Center (RMC) to perform an evaluation, both formative and summative, on the effectiveness of these efforts on the student outcome measures of interest. Both types of evaluations 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. Both evaluations are intended to measure the implementation, aggregate outcomes, and the impact of these efforts on Full Time First Time in College (FTFIC) loan or Pell grant receiving students’ graduation rates, 3-year Cohort Default Rates (CDR), retention rates, and fall to fall persistence for those who are Pell eligible. A host of intermediate steps related to these outcomes will also be measured.
|Heath J. Prince, PhD
Ashweeta Patnaik, MPH
|Sponsor:||Corporation for a Skilled Workforce and US Department of Labor|
|Project Duration:||June 2015 – September 2018
|Description:||The Ray Marshall Center (RMC), in collaboration with the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW), will be evaluating the efforts of the Mid-South Community College-led Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) grant for the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW). GMACW’s mission is to help solve Greater Memphis’ skills gap by: aligning training and education programs with employers’ skill requirements, and with each other; connecting employers to cost-effective training and hiring support, and; driving coordination and improved outcomes among providers that serve job candidates.
While CSW is conducting the implementation (formative) evaluation, RMC is carrying out a quasi-experimental comparison cohort (summative) evaluation to measure the impact of these strategies. The impact evaluation conducted by RMC will seek to gauge the “value-added” from these enhanced training pathways.