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Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation, and Development


The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) will contract with Vanderbilt University to lead a team of national and state measurement, research and evaluation experts. The Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation, and Development (the Consortium) will collect project specific data and conduct evaluations of select interventions within Tennessee's First to the Top reform efforts.
I. Description of Services/Activities
Tennessee's Consortium on Research, Evaluation, and Development shall create a detailed focused program of research in collaboration with various partners, collect administrative and primary data to support evaluation of past and present policies and reforms in Tennessee, conduct scientifically rigorous and technically sound quantitative and qualitative analyses, prepare project reports, technical memorandums, working papers, and other deliverables, and communicate project-related information and results using a multi-pronged dissemination strategy. Activities include both summative and formative evaluation efforts as well as both quick-response studies and large scale, multi-year studies of First to the Top reforms.
II. General Provisions
A. The Consortium will conduct the following research studies:
1. First to the Top Initiatives
Study of teacher and principal attitudes and behaviors and organizational dynamics in relation to Tennessee's First to the Top initiatives - Develop, pilot, and administer a series of comprehensive surveys of educator attitudes toward, perceptions of, and responses to the First to the Top reform efforts.
a. Develop and administer a comprehensive battery of data collection initiatives annually that not only assess but also inform the implementation and impact of various reform efforts in both the short‐ and long‐term
2. Teacher and Principal Evaluation
a. Study of past evaluation policy in Tennessee - Examine past practices / instrumentation, the strengths and weaknesses of  past practice / instrumentation, ways new educator evaluation system address these issues
b. Evaluation of educator evaluation field test and scaling-up of educator evaluation policies - Examine the fidelity of implementation and effect of educator evaluation in Tennessee. Also study the technical properties of evaluation instruments and tools selected by the state and their association to a variety of student, educator, and school outcomes.
c. Plan evaluation of educator evaluation program going to scale and pursue extramural funding in support of evaluation initiatives of field test and/or scaling-up program.
d. Conduct needs assessment - Conduct needs assessment at school and district level to inform implementation experiences with educator evaluation pilot.
3. Achievement School District
a. Study of identification strategy of failing schools - Examine the technical properties of failing school identification strategy and the validity and reliability of the measure. Explore feasibility of an identification strategy based on multiple measures and whether this may be more sound practice.
b. Study of teacher and principal attitudes and behaviors and organizational dynamics in the ASD - Examine the impact of participation in the Achievement School District on personnel.
c. Quantitative analysis of teacher hiring practices contrasting TNTP, districts, and other providers. TN CRED MOU - p. 1
4. Compensation Reform/Innovation Fund
a. Financial sustainability of educator compensation reform - Identify potential reform options to make a performance-based compensation system (PBCS) fiscally sustainable in Tennessee. More specifically, review the single salary schedule and its common critiques; outline at least two main types of reforms, including the redeployment of existing categorical program funds and the restructuring of incentives currently found in the single salary schedule; conduct a simulation case study to explore whether or not the proposed options offer a practical solution; summarizes the principle assumptions underlying the proposed reform options and simulation case study; and suggests next steps in the formulation and analysis of potential reform strategies.
b. Innovation Acceleration Fund - Design parameters for compensation reform funded by Innovation Fund and conduct comprehensive evaluation of compensation reform initiatives.
5. Educator Pathways and Distribution
a. Pathways into Teaching - Examine traditional and non-traditional pathways into teaching to explore similarities and differences in quality and effectiveness.
b. Pathways into Leadership - Examine traditional and non-traditional pathways into educational leadership, particularly the principalship, to explore similarities and differences in quality and effectiveness.
6.Student Progression
a. Student Progression and Graduation - An empirical analysis using   the P20 database that would explore the role of student, family, school, classroom and teacher characteristics on student progression and graduation. The study would inform policymakers and the public on indicators of student success and provide some insights on how specific interventions (like teacher initiatives that increase student value added) potentially affect progression and graduation.
7. STEM Network
a. Stem Subcontract - Oversee the evaluation of the STEM initiative
8. Additional studies will be defined over time in collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Education, the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), the US Department of Education, and other key partners, and as funds are available.