Sunday, January 01, 2006

Value-Added (aka Growth) Models receive official recognition

The Value-Added Research Center (VARC) intends to be at the forefront of both scholarly work on the appropriate use of test results as well as a leader in advanced techniques of applying value-added analysis to robust evaluation models. We are engaged in a number of different research and application projects that provide insights into various applications of robust evaluation designs. The VARC management team is made up of Center Director Robert Meyer, Gary Cook, Sarah Mason, Anthony Milanowski, and Christopher Thorn. WCER Director Adam Gamoran and School of Education Dean Julie Underwood are also engaged in the leadership team.

The core grant for VARC is a project funded through the Longitudinal Data Systems grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. VARC principal investigators won 3 of the 14 grants awarded in a Tri-State Partnership with Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. VARC will be providing overall project coordination, data warehouse design assistance, and support for sophisticated embedded analysis.

Other VARC activities include the support of an embedded researcher in the Milwaukee Public Schools Assessment and Accountability Office, an 12-year study of class size reduction (known as the SAGE program in Wisconsin) that grows out of ongoing qualitative and quantitative work on the program, and providing value-added analysis assistance to NSF-funded Math and Science Partnerships.

VARC is being launched this winter as both an umbrella organization for related work and as a vehicle for exploiting complementarities between research and application projects.


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