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Tennessee Department of Education: Setting Students Up for Success

Primary Investigator(s): Matthew Ronfeldt

Funding Agency: Tennessee Department of Education & the U.S. Department of Education

Period: 9/5/2016 - ongoing

The over-arching goal of this project is to build on the state’s robust and successful statewide, longitudinal data systems to empower a series of stakeholders – students, parents, and counselors, Educator Preparation Program (EPP) administrators, district leaders, and future teachers – to make decisions that ultimately result in improved educational outcomes for students. Specifically, the TDOE will integrate data from longitudinal systems into existing online portals that allow the stakeholders listed above to access immediately actionable information. The redesigned, data integrated portals (henceforth referred to as “EPP portals”) will allow for a series of “nudges” and metrics intended to push stakeholders to make more meaningful use of the data in decisions, policies, and initiatives. These efforts, in turn, will assist the state in learning more about how to multiply the effects of such data-driven interventions and decision-makings.

In order to support the TDOE in reaching these goals and in partnership with TDOE leadership and staff, Ronfeldt will lead a number of research activities intended to inform and support over-arching project goals (defined above): (1) use existing statewide data to identify features of educator preparation programs that predict positive outcomes for program completers, (2) design and investigate a series of smaller-scale experiments or quasi-experiments ("nudges") with a subset of EPPs and (3) investigate advantages and disadvantages of various approaches to estimating differences between EPPs in terms of their graduates' teaching effectiveness (based on statewide teacher evaluation data) and other workforce outcomes (e.g., hiring rates, retention rates).