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MeasureResults® to be Launched at CoSN 2010

Empirical Education will launch its web-based educational research solution, MeasureResults on March 1 at the Consortium for School Networking conference in Washington, DC. MeasureResults is a suite of online tools that makes rigorous research designs and statistical processes accessible to school systems and educational publishers who want to evaluate the effectiveness of products and services aimed at improving student performance.

“MeasureResults will change the way that school districts and product developers conduct rigorous evaluations,” said Denis Newman, Empirical Education President. “Instead of hiring outside evaluators or onsite research experts or statisticians, MeasureResults allows school district personnel to design a study, collect data, and review reports in our user-friendly online platform.”

MeasureResults grew out of a federally funded research project to develop a low-cost method for schools to conduct their own research. The product was developed for commercial distribution under a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Department of Education. By moving the educational research processes online, MeasureResults makes school-run evaluations more efficient and less expensive.


New Directions for Research Discussed at Institute of Education Sciences Conference

The Fourth Annual Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Research Conference was convened June 7 - 9 with an air of anticipation about new directions, as John Q. Easton began his term as director. Formerly executive director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research, he brings a new perspective to IES. While Dr. Easton is quoted in Education Week as saying he will retain the rigor that IES has made a priority, the Consortium’s work points to the importance of building local capacity for research to support reform. In a paper published online, he and his colleagues provide a clear and detailed rationale for their approach that includes the need for combining high quality research with the ability to cut through technical details to communicate both good and bad news to local decision makers.

Three Empirical Education staff members furthered this agenda of building capacity for local school and district evaluations in poster presentations at the conference. Dr. Robert Smith, the company’s vice president of engineering, outlined the company’s progress on MeasureResults™, a web-based evaluation solution for schools and districts. (Funding for the development of MeasureResults is from an IES Small Business Innovation Research grant.)

Dr. Denis Newman, the company’s president, and Andrew P. Jaciw, director of experimental design and analysis, presented their findings on the process of developing low cost, timely, and locally relevant experiments (funded by an IES research grant). Development efforts on MeasureResults continue through the Empirical Education team’s application of the knowledge gained from this project entitled “Low Cost Experiments to Support Local School District Decisions.” This project guides the team in developing decision makers’ understanding of, and building local capacity for, conducting evaluation research.


Development Grant Awarded to Empirical Education

The U.S. Department of Education awarded Empirical Education a research grant to develop web-based software tools to support school administrators in conducting their own program evaluations. The two-and-a-half year project was awarded through the Small Business Innovative Research program administered and funded by the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education. The proposal received excellent reviews in this competitive program. One reviewer remarked: “This software system is in the spirit of NCLB and IES to make curriculum, professional development, and other policy decisions based on rigorous research. This would be an improvement over other systems that districts and schools use that mostly generate tables.” While current data-driven decision making systems provide tabular information or comparisons in terms of bar graphs, the software to be developed—an enhancement of our current MeasureResults™ program—helps school personnel create appropriate research designs following a decision process. It then provides access to a web-based service that uses sophisticated statistical software to test whether there is a difference in the results for a new program compared to the school‘s existing programs. The reviewer added that the web-based system instantiates a “very good idea to provide [a] user-friendly and cost-effective software system to districts and schools to insert data for evaluating their own programs.” Another reviewer agreed, noting that: “The theory behind the tool is sound and would provide analyses appropriate to the questions being asked.” The reviewer also remarked that “…this would be a highly valuable tool. It is likely that the tool would be widely disseminated and utilized.” The company will begin deploying early versions of the software in school systems this coming fall.