Category Archives: Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement

CAREI Researchers Present at Mid-Western Educational Research Association Conference

MWERA-thumb-200x133-138888-thumb-200x133-138889CAREI research associates Beverly Dretzke, Debra Ingram, and Tim Sheldon each presented at the Mid-Western Educational Research Association (MWERA) annual conference, held this year in Evanston, IL. Much of the research resulted from collaboration with community partners. Two of Dretzke’s coauthors, Judy Meath and Susan Rickers, had previously worked as graduate student research assistants at CAREI.
The research presented by Dretzke, Ingram, and Sheldon covered a wide range of educational topics, specifically:
• Staying Power: Assessing the Impact of the be@school Program on Student Attendance Behavior. (Sheldon, T. D.)
• Integrating the Arts to Improve Student Learning.
(Ingram, D., & Weiss, C.)
• How Practice and Evaluation Shape Each Other: An Example from an Arts Integration Project.
(Radzicki, E., & Dretzke, B. J.)
• Be an Artist with Your Words: Integrating Instruction in Language Arts and Visual Arts.
(Ingram, D., & George, A.)
• Summer School Partnerships of Literary Artists and Sixth-Grade Reading Teachers.
(Dretzke, B. J., Meath, J. L., & Rickers, S. R.)

Kyla Wahlstrom Discusses Instructional Leadership and Teacher Evaluations

NasbeKyla Wahlstrom, Director of CAREI, was recently invited to speak at the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) annual conference in Chicago, IL. Wahlstrom participated in a panel discussion on School Leadership, and spoke about how principals have a key role in supporting teacher learning through teacher evaluation. Her comments focused on how principals can strengthen their instructional leadership by using information from teacher evaluations to shape teacher support. The annual NASBE conference brings together members of the nation’s State Boards of Education, where they share and discuss policies that govern all aspects of education at the state level.

Melissa Kwon Keynote Speaker at Asian Pacific Islander Health Summit

Melissa Kwon, Research Associate at CAREI, was invited to be the keynote speaker at the recent Asian Pacific Islander (API) Health Equity Retreat organized by Asian Media Access. Kwon spoke about educational research methods and applications in studying API health disparities in Minnesota, with a focus on the importance of culturally relevant research and disaggregating API data by ethnicity. The audience for the Summit included local and national community groups, health professionals, and representatives from the Center for Disease Control.

Debra Ingram Presents Theatre-Based Assessment Protocol

CTCIngramDebra Ingram, research associate at CAREI, and Tessa Flynn, Manager of Community Engagement at The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, presented a workshop on the assessment of student-driven, critical discussion at the American Alliance for Theatre & Education National Conference in Lexington, KY. The workshop focused on a new observation protocol for measuring students’ speaking and listening comprehension skills in the theatre’s Neighborhood Bridges program. The protocol was designed by Ingram in partnership with staff at The Children’s Theatre Company, and is aligned with state and national language arts standards. (Photograph courtesy of Nancy Wong).

Back to School: Kyla Wahlstrom Discusses Teen Sleep and Learning

Male high school student asleep in classKyla Wahlstrom’s research on school start time and its connection to student learning is a particularly hot topic right now, as teachers, students, and parents prepare for the beginning of a new school year. Wahlstrom has recently been invited to discuss her research on Missouri Public Radio’s morning news program, “Up To Date,” and also with WCCO-AM’s Jordana Green. The interviews highlighted Wahlstrom’s research findings, including the positive effects of sleep on students’ learning and the political difficulties of changing school start times. Related outcomes for family life and teen behavior were also discussed. Wahlstrom is the Director of CEHD’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI). The interviews are available in the archives for the radio stations and Wahlstrom’s published reports on this subject are available on the CAREI website.

CAREI to evaluate an extensive new education initiative with Twin Cities United Way

CAREIThe Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) was selected as the external evaluator for an extensive new education initiative of Twin Cities Strive in partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way. The United Way and Strive received a $5 million grant to support a portfolio of replicable, evidence-based youth programs designed to improve kindergarten readiness, third-grade reading proficiency, ninth-grade readiness for upper-level math, four-year graduation rates, and college enrollment rates for between 1,500 and 2,000 low-income youth each year.
This grant was awarded as part of the Corporation for National and Community Service’s national Social Innovation Fund (SIF) competition. CAREI will provide evaluation services for the overall project, as well as for each of the to-be-awarded subgrantee programs. Dr. Michael Michlin will be the principal investigator for this evaluation project.

Dr. Kwon participates at AAPI Midwest Regional Action Summit

midwest_aapi_communityThe White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) recently held its Midwest Regional Action Summit on July 13, in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Melissa Kwon, Research Associate at CAREI, was invited to be a panelist on the Education Panel, speaking about AAPI Issues in Higher Education in the Midwest. Kwon discussed the importance of disaggregating AAPI data, as well as educational access, retention, and leadership development for AAPIs in higher education in the Twin Cities. The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, housed in the US Department of Education, will use what they learned at the Midwest Regional Action Summit to inform policy decisions affecting AAPI students.

Dr. Dretzke taught MESI Summer Institute class and will present at MWERA Conference

StatbookcoverDr. Beverly Dretzke, Research Associate at CAREI, was invited to teach a professional development class tapping her expertise in applied research and data analysis. The class, “Analyzing Survey Data Using Microsoft® Excel,” was part of the Technical Data Analysis Skills session track at MESI‘s July Summer Institute. Dretzke’s class focused on applications using Excel’s Analysis Toolpak and PivotTable reports. Participants in the class included University of Minnesota graduate students and staff, evaluators from independent research organizations, local government analysts, and staff from area colleges and universities. Much of the content from the professional development class is also available in Dretzke’s publication Statistics with Microsoft® Excel, which is now in its fifth edition with Pearson. Dretzke will be presenting a similar workshop at the 2012 Mid-Western Educational Research Association Conference. The MWERA conference will be held in Evanston, IL in November.

Dr. Kwon receives MN Department of Health grant

Image Melissa's Health GrantDr. Melissa Kwon, a research associate with CAREI, recently received funding to work with the Minnesota Young Women’s Collaborative on Asian American community health issues and research. The grant was designed in collaboration with the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). The funded project will include the course “Asian American Health and Research,” in which University of Minnesota students will gain experience in community based research, advocacy, and leadership development. Kwon will be evaluating the effects of the project on students’ learning of social science research methods, advocacy skills, and leadership skills. The grant is funded by the Minnesota Department of Health’s Eliminating Health Disparities Initiatives.

Wahlstrom presents to the DOE on landmark education leadership study

DOEneedlepointDr. Kyla Wahlstrom, director of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), was recently invited to Washington, DC, to meet with Department of Education Secretary Arnie Duncan’s cabinet members. She presented key findings from the landmark national study examining the link between educational leadership and student achievement that she co-investigated with Regents Professor Karen Seashore, Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD).
The cabinet members will use the study’s findings to shape the next rounds of federal Race to the Top grants, by including expectations for leadership actions found to have a positive link to student learning. The 3.5 million dollar, six-year research study by Wahlstrom and Seashore was funded by The Wallace Foundation.
See this CEHD News story for more information on the research.
Copies of the Executive Summary and the full research report are available at no charge on the CAREI website.

CAREI Participates in the Evaluation of the Minnesota Area Geriatric Education Center

Deb Ingram, Ph.D., research associate at CAREI, is working with staff at the University of Minnesota’s Center on Aging (School of Public Health) to evaluate activities carried out by the Minnesota Area Geriatric Education Center (MAGEC). MAGEC is funded in part by a grant received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. MAGEC offers geriatric education for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students throughout the University of Minnesota and continuing professional development for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and dentists. A major focus of the evaluation is the MAGEC Fellowship Program which provides continuing education for staff of long-term care facilities in Minnesota. The goal of the program is to support an initiative which is designed to provide better care for the elderly, resulting in a decrease in unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits. MAGEC is one of several U of M grant-funded projects that have been evaluated by CAREI.

‘Flipped Instruction’ headlines CAREI Assembly in March

2CAREIAssembly3-9-12Over 50 educational leaders attended the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) Assembly on “flipped instruction” in March. Teachers and school leaders from more than a dozen school districts as well as staff from the College of Education and Human Development, including Dean Quam, participated in a spirited discussion on the topic.
In a flipped classroom, lessons are sent home with students as podcasts and videos, and the “homework” happens back at school with the teacher. This flipped approach allows teachers to spend the majority of their class time coaching and supporting students based on their individual needs.
Assembly presenters included: Mike Dronen, Kristin Daniels, and Wayne Feller from Stillwater Area Public Schools and Jon Fila from Intermediate School District #287. Stillwater’s pilot began with six fifth-grade teachers using the flipped model for math instruction in fall 2011. Based on the success of the pilot, 26 Stillwater teachers have agreed to flip their math classes this spring. Fila shared information and resources from Intermediate District #287 that related to using Moodle in a flipped setting. He presented on content creation, effective elements, and the benefits of using a web-based curriculum for students and teachers.
The CAREI Assembly is unique among all Research One universities in bringing together university researchers and school practitioners on a regular basis. The assembly serves a vital link between research and practice. Together, faculty, researchers, and school leaders share the latest findings, discuss upcoming issues, and debate the newest solutions to educational reform. CAREI has done so,more or less quarterly, for nearly 20 years. For more information on CAREI and the assembly visit this website.

CAREI evaluators to share best practices at the 2012 MESI Conference

1Kundin_Dretzke-1Delia Kundin and Beverly Dretzke, research associates with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), will be presenting a workshop on surveys at the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI). MESI is an interdisciplinary training institute for evaluation studies housed at the University of Minnesota. The 2012 MESI conference will be held March 26-31 at the Continuing Education Conference Center on the St. Paul campus. The theme of the 2012 MESI conference is Evaluation in a Complex World: Changing Expectations, Changing Realities. The conference program agenda features keynote speakers and sessions on evaluation basics, methods, and special topics.
Kundin and Dretzke will be presenting a post-conference workshop that will provide participants with information on best practices related to survey construction and analyzing and summarizing survey results. Topics in their workshop include writing good survey items, creating appropriate response options (e.g., Likert-type scales), analyzing data using Microsoft® Excel, and reporting findings to multiple audiences. Additional details regarding the MESI conference agenda and registration can be obtained at the MESI conference website.

University and Adventium Enterprises developing mobile application for teaching neuroscience

1graphic imageMichael Michlin, research associate and associate director of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, is the external evaluator of an intriguing project to develop iNeuron™, an interactive game-like approach to teaching neuroscience and mental health at the classroom level and beyond.
For more than a decade, the University has been promoting neuroscience education in K-12 schools through its Brain Awareness and BrainU programs. Dr. Janet Dubinsky (Department of Neuroscience), BrainU director, is an internationally recognized neuroscientist and leader in neuroscience education. BrainU (brainu.org) provides professional development resources and materials for K-12 science teachers interested in understanding the brain and its relevance to education.
Dubinsky is co-lead of the iNeuron project and head of the University team, including Dubinsky, Michlin, and Dr. Selcen Guzey (Educational Technology Integration), Department of Curriculum and Instruction. The other half of the partnership is Adventium Enterprises, a Minneapolis-based software research and development company (adventiumlabs.com). Dr. Martin Michalowski, Senior Research Scientist, is the iNeuron program director for Adventium.
iNeuron will be a mobile framework that combines development of flexible, multimodal software hosted on multiple, interactive hand-held devices with centralized management and coordination that integrates classroom level and distributed learning environments. It will use an immersive story-based set of neuroscience challenges teaching key concepts as students connect model neurons (one or more of which will be represented on handheld electronic devices such as the iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone) into functional circuits. Thus iNeuron will integrate nervous system function with engineering, technology and mathematics concepts while providing an engaging, hands-on, problem-solving learning environment using the mobile computing devices.

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Gordon publishes chapter in book on leadership, family and community engagement

1CAREI_Gordon-book-chapter_IMAGE_book-coverMolly F. Gordon, Ph.D, research associate at the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), has contributed a chapter titled Creating Organizational Cultures of Family and Community Engagement: The Impact of District Policies and Practices on School Leaders to an edited book on leadership, family and community engagement. In the chapter, Gordon uses case studies to explore how district leaders create organizational cultures of engagement and how district engagement policies and practices play out in schools.
The volume, School Leadership for Authentic Family and Community Partnerships: Research Perspectives for Transforming Practice, is edited by Susan Auerbach from California State University, Northridge, and published by Routledge. The book brings together research perspectives that intersect the fields of leadership and partnerships to inform and inspire more authentic collaboration.
The volume offers a mix of empirical, conceptual, and reflective chapters and includes candid advice from district and school-level administrators on this under-documented aspect of leadership. Gordon’s chapter is drawn from data collected as part of a larger Wallace Foundation-funded study, Learning from Leadership, conducted by CAREI and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto.

CAREI researchers present papers at MWERA conference

7CAREI_MWERA_Dretzke-Chinese-students-photoBeverly Dretzke, Sue Rickers, and Judy Meath presented their research at the Mid-Western Educational Research Association (MWERA) conference held in St. Louis in October. Dretzke is a research associate at the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI). Rickers, a research assistant at CAREI, is a doctoral candidate in the School of Social Work. Meath is a doctoral student in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, and a former CAREI research fellow.
Their co-authored paper was entitled “An Investigation of a Professional Development Program for Arts Educators.” The paper presented the results of an evaluation of Focus on Arts, Culture and Excellence for Teachers and Students (FACETS), a three-year professional development program implemented by the Minneapolis Public Schools district. The primary purpose of FACETS was to enhance music and visual arts teachers’ knowledge and skills related to providing effective instruction for students of the ethnic/cultural backgrounds present in their classrooms, especially African American, Somali, Hmong, Latino/Hispanic, and American Indian. FACETS was funded by the U.S. Department of Education through the Professional Development for Arts Educators Grants Program. CAREI served as the external evaluator for FACETS.
Dretzke also presented “Why Parents Choose Chinese Immersion for Their Children.” The paper described the results of a survey of parents who have enrolled their children in a Chinese immersion program offered by the Hopkins, Minnetonka, and St. Cloud school districts. Four elementary schools in these districts comprise the Minnesota Mandarin Immersion Collaborative (MMIC). The four schools are: Eisenhower Elementary XinXing Academy (Hopkins, MN), Excelsior Elementary (Excelsior, MN), Scenic Heights Elementary (Minnetonka, MN), and Madison Elementary Guang Ming Academy (St. Cloud, MN). The MMIC is the recipient of a five-year Foreign Language Assistance Program grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support instruction in Mandarin that has a content focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The evaluation of the Chinese immersion programs offered by MMIC is being conducted by CAREI.

CAREI evaluators join international democracy project

2CAREI_DDA-evaluation_news-item_photoDelia Kundin, Ph.D., and Timothy Sheldon, Ph.D., evaluators from the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), have joined an international team that is working to promote the teaching and learning of democratic principles and the skills of civic deliberation among young people in Latin America and the United States.
The project, known as Deliberating in a Democracy in the Americas, is funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students. Collaborators include the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, the Constitutional Rights Foundation in Los Angeles, and Street Law, Inc. in Silver Spring, Maryland. Thousands of high school students and hundreds of teachers from Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and the United States are participating in the project.
Professor Patricia Avery, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, directs the evaluation of the grant in partnership with Kundin and Sheldon. The project model is based on Structured Academic Controversy developed by David Johnson, emeritus professor, Department of Educational Psychology, and Roger Johnson, professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Dretzke authors new edition of Excel statistics manual

DretzkeB-2007Beverly J. Dretzke, Ph.D., research associate, Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), has authored Statistics with Microsoft Excel, a manual that explains how to use Excel for statistical analysis. The manual, published by Pearson, is now in its 5th edition. The 1st edition was published when Dretzke was a professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and her teaching assignment included an undergraduate course in statistics. The department had selected Excel for use in the course and, since no suitable manual was available at that time, Dretzke took on the task of writing one. In addition to this manual, Dretzke has also written companion manuals for statistics textbooks published by Pearson: Larson & Farber’s Elementary Statistics: Picturing the World, 5th ed. and Mendenhall & Sincich’s Statistics for Engineering and the Sciences, 5th ed.

Wahlstrom, York-Barr publish leadership article in Journal of Staff Development

CAREI-LeadershipKyla Wahlstrom, director of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), and Jennifer York-Barr, professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), co-authored an article in the latest issue of the Journal of Staff Development that features the new Standards for Professional Learning recently released by Learning Forward (formerly NSDC), the international association of learning educators. Their article on the second standard, Leadership, describes how the roles of both principal and teacher leadership in schools are presented as being critical to enable effective change to occur.
Download article from the Journal of Staff Development.
Download article from University of Minnesota Libraries.
The seven new Standards for Professional Learning developed by Learning Forward draw from research in all areas of educational reform over the past 10 years. They are grounded in evidence-based practice, describing a set of expectations for effective professional learning that ensures equity and excellence in educator learning. They articulate the relationship between professional learning and student results, and are designed to set policies and shape practice in professional learning at both the pre-service and in-service levels. Read an overview of the standards.
The basis for the journal article is the empirical research study, Learning from Leadership, conducted by Wahlstrom and Karen Seashore (OLPD), and CAREI researchers Molly Gordon and Michael Michlin, as well as with colleagues from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. The study lasted six years and examined the link between leadership and learning across the United States. The research was funded by The Wallace Foundation and is the largest study of the link between leadership and learning ever conducted.
Linking the leadership findings to specific actions and policy decisions is the ultimate benefit of this kind of research. Earlier this year, Wahlstrom and Seashore provided an all-day in-service presentation to over 60 education leaders, discussing ways to apply the findings in their local districts.

LA Times interviews Wahlstrom on benefits of later school start times

1WahlstromProfessor Kyla Wahlstrom is featured in a Los Angeles Times story titled “Later school start times and Zzzs to A’s,” which focuses on the increasing body of research indicating that delaying school start times — even by just 30 minutes — makes a significant difference in how well students feel and perform in school. One of the first and most influential studies was conducted in the mid-1990s by Wahlstrom and her research team at the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI). It led the way for continuing study of later start times and their relationship to educational achievement for high school students.