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School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Good, Burch Examine the Potential Dangers of Privatizing Digital Education

Digital education may be an innovative path forward for the American public schools system, but many of the existing virtual teaching programs have serious flaws, according to a new book co-authored by WCER researcher Annalee Good and former UW–Madison Assistant Professor and WCER researcher Patricia Burch.

The book, Equal Scrutiny: Privatization and Accountability in Digital Education, is set for publication in May. In it, the authors point out that the trend for private education technology contractors to provide schools with digital education programs leads to concerns about the quality of services, who is served, and who benefits. Read more.

Common Core Standards Do Not Account for Diversity

A professor considers the Common Core Standards in the context of students she has taught and the historical inequities that have plagued American schools. She asks: How can a “common” and assumedly “core” set of standards address social inequity and ensure that all children become highly literate?

Many students live in poverty. Yet, even if their achievement lags behind that of their classmates, they bring to their schools rich, diverse experiences.

Can a set of common standards address racism and poverty that interfere with student achievement?

Can common standards address and reduce the achievement gap?

Will common standards tap into, and build on, the unique experiences students bring to the classroom?

UW–Madison education professor Catherine Compton-Lilly says, “No.” Read more.

Examining Past NSF Grants: A Step Toward More STEM Graduates

Each year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) spends tens of millions of dollars pursuing one of its highest priorities: increasing the number of students entering and completing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In fact, the NSF set a goal of increasing the number of well-prepared graduates with STEM degrees by one-third, or about one million graduates, by 2020. At the same time, the NSF seeks to improve the quality of STEM education at all levels, noting that maintaining American preeminence in these fields of study is critical to the country’s continued global economic success.

Eric Grodsky, Associate Professor of Sociology and Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and WCER researcher, recognized that more might be learned by collectively studying the STEM grants awarded through the NSF’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP). A new $1.3 million NSF grant awarded to Grodsky and Chandra Muller of the University of Texas–Austin, titled “Building on STEP to Understand STEM Entry and Persistence,” will do just that. Read more.





The first two years of college should be free at public schools, say Sara Goldrick-Rab and Nancy Kendall (14 April,

Sara Goldrick-Rab studies the effects of financial aid by comparing the academic paths of 1,000 students who will get the money with others who won't (4 April,

Jerlando Jackson on  strategies to improve the Black male experience in preK-12 schools and in postsecondary contexts (6 April,

Nick Hillman is among those skeptical of using ROI to evaluate colleges (2 April, The Daily Pennsylvanian)

Can the Single Stop program keep more students in school? Program evaluator Sara Goldrick-Rab comments. (26 March, New York Times

The federal government's mechanism for holding institutions accountable for student loan default rates has significant shortcomings, says Nicholas Hillman (21 March, Inside Higher Ed)

Sara Goldrick-Rab critiques a proposal in Florida that would allow college students to pay tuition out of their salary after they graduate  (17 March, State Impact Florida)


Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and LearningCenter for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning

Center on Education and Work

Children, Families & SchoolsChildren, Families & Schools

CRPBISCulturally Responsive Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Consortium for Policy Research in EducationConsortium for Policy Research in Education


CALLComprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning

CCHERCulture, Cognition, and Evaluation of STEM Higher Education Reform

Epistemic GamesEpistemic
Games Group

Exploring the alignment between workforce and education

Formative Language Assessment Records for ELLs in Secondary Schools

Interdisciplinary ITPTraining Program in the Education Sciences

Investing in Family Engagement

LSFFLongitudinal Study of Future STEM Scholars

Mobilizing STEM for a Sustainable FutureMobilizing STEM for a Sustainable Future

Minority Student Achievement NetworkMinority Student
Achievement Network


Strategic Management of Human CapitalStrategic Management of Human Capital

Surveys of Enacted CurriculumSurveys of Enacted Curriculum

System-wide Change for All Learners and EducatorsSystem-wide Change for All Learners and Educators

Talking About Leaving, Revisited

TDOP: Teaching Dimensions Observation Protocol

TransanaTracking the Processes of Data Driven Decision-Making in Higher Education


Value-Added Research CenterValue-Added Research Center

WIDA ConsortiumWIDA Consortium

WeilabWisconsin's Equity and Inclusion Laboratory


Thinking Like an Engineer

Well-designed video games can help students prepare for their careers. The Epistemic Games Group at WCER is headquarters for Games and Professional Simulations, a cooperative of six research groups across the country. These groups design online “virtual internships” for college students that require them to think like an engineer, urban planner, or science journalist. Read more.

Sharing Responsibility to Improve Teaching and Learning

Educators in elementary and secondary schools around the country can now tap into the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning (CALL) survey to assess how to improve their schools. CALL is a web-based tool that gauges what works well and what needs improving in a school’s day-to-day activities. Where most assessments focus on one school leader, the principal, CALL measures the contributions of administrators, teachers, and other instructional staff. Read more.