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SERVE Center - The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Sponsored Projects

The SERVE Center works with federal, state, and district agencies, institutes of higher education, and with other education organizations to provide services in the areas of research and development, evaluation, professional development, and technical assistance. Following is a listing of some of our recent sponsored projects:


Project: North Carolina Race to the Top Evaluation

SERVE Center is partnering with The Friday Institute (NCSU) and the Carolina Institute of Public Policy (UNC-CH) to conduct the evaluation of the implementation of the North Carolina Race to the Top project (2010-2014). The purpose of the evaluation is to provide formative feedback for program improvement as well as to determine project impact on target goals for each initiative and for overall state-level outcome goals.

Client: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education
Topics: Teacher & Leader Effectiveness, Supply and Equitable Distribution of Teachers, Regional Leadership Academies, New Teacher Support (Induction) Program, Educator Incentives, Virtual Public Schools Blended-learning STEM Courses, Teacher Recruitment, Professional Development, District and School Transformation, STEM Schools Network, Local Spending, Cloud Computing
Contact: Nina Arshavsky


AT-RISK STUDENTS 

Project: National Center for Homeless Education MATO (NCHE)

NCHE is the U.S. Department of Education’s technical assistance and information dissemination center in the area of homeless education. NCHE supports the work of administrators, educators, service providers, and agencies in removing barriers to the enrollment and success of homeless children and youth and in the implementation of the McKinney-Vento Act (Title X, Part C of the No Child Left Behind Act).

Client: U.S. Department of Education
Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education
Topics: Homeless Education, Homeless and Unaccompanied Youth, McKinney-Vento
Contact: Diana Bowman

Project: North Carolina Homeless Education Program

The NC HEP administers the homeless education program for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The program provides guidance, technical assistance, staff development, and oversight to all local education agencies in the state in removing barriers to the enrollment and success of homeless children and youth and in implementing the provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act (Title X, Part C of the No Child Left Behind Act). The program conducts and oversees the process of providing subgrants to local education agencies in accordance with the McKinney-Vento Act.

Client: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Funding Agency: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Topics: Homeless Education, Homeless and Unaccompanied Youth, McKinney-Vento
Contact: Diana Bowman

Project: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Evaluation (TESOL for ALL)

The purpose of this evaluation was to examine the effectiveness of the TESOL for ALL professional development program. Impact of the professional development sessions on teachers' self-perception of their knowledge and skills, application in their daily teaching, and long-term impact on English language learners' academic growth was examined.

Client: UNCG School of Education—Educational Research Methodology
Funding: U.S. Department of Education
Topic: English Language Learners
Project: Winston-Salem Forsyth County (WSFC) Schools Dropout Prevention Program Evaluation

The purpose of this external review of the WSFC Dropout Prevention Programs was to provide feedback on the various programs and provide recommendations for an overall evaluation plan. Evaluation activities included: (1) reviewing extant reports and data, (2) interviewing project leaders/coordinators for the purpose of understanding the implementation of such programs, and (3) providing a comprehensive summary evaluation report (with recommendations) of the status of the dropout prevention initiatives in Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools.

Client: Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools
Funding: Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools and Foundation Partners
Topics: Dropout Prevention, Graduation Rate, Retention, Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Project: North Carolina Supplemental Educational Services (SES) Evaluation

SES falls under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The program provided free-of-cost academic assistance for eligible students (e.g., tutoring), over and above regular school hours. This evaluation examined the performance of SES providers on the basis of three criteria: (1) student attendance in the program, (2) parental satisfaction, and (3) academic achievement of participating students. These three evaluation criteria were identified in the NCDPI SES evaluation policy as the outcomes on which to determine the effectiveness of SES program providers.

Client: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Funding: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Program Monitoring
Topics: Supplemental, Parent Satisfaction, Attendance, Achievement, After-School

CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION

Project: Evaluation of Horry County Historical Inquiry Project

This is a mixed method evaluation of Horry County’s Historical Inquiry Project, a project funded by the Teaching American History program. Using survey data, content knowledge assessments, and student achievement data, the evaluation looked at the impact of the project on teachers’ content knowledge and historical thinking skills, as well as on student outcomes.

Client: Horry County Schools
Funding Agency: US Department of Education
Topics: Professional Development, Student Achievement, Teacher Content Knowledge  
EARLY CHILDHOOD

Project: South Carolina’s Bridges to Early Learning

The South Carolina Department of Education received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to provide training and professional development to early childhood educators. This project, Bridges to Early Learning, provided professional development and support to teachers in public 4-K programs, Head Start, and child care centers. South Carolina partnered with the SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to evaluate the project.

Client: South Carolina Department of Education
Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Topics: Early Childhood, Professional Development

HIGH SCHOOL

Project: Efficacy of North Carolina’s Learn and Earn Early College High School Model


A partnership effort with the North Carolina New Schools Project, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Duke University, Abt Associates, and RTI International, this longitudinal experimental study is examining the impact of North Carolina’s Learn and Earn Early College High School Model. Participating schools used a lottery to select students; the study then followed students who were randomly selected to both attend and not attend the school. The study compares both sets of students on a broad range of outcomes including achievement, coursetaking, attendance, dropout, and student attitudes and behaviors. In addition, the study is collecting information on model implementation to identify any particular components of the model that are associated with better student outcomes. 

Client: Institute of Educations Sciences (IES)
Funding Agency: US Department of Education
Topic: Early College High Schools
Contact: Julie Edmunds

Project: Exploring Why Students Leave Early College High Schools

This project uses school enrollment data, survey data, and site visits to explore the number of students leaving Early College High Schools and to identify reasons they might leave. The project will look at Early College High Schools across the country with the goal of providing information that will help the schools serve their students more effectively.  

Client: Jobs for the Future
Funding Agency: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Topics: Professional Development, Early College High Schools 
Contact: Julie Edmunds

Project: High School Mathematics and Science Pipeline Study

As co-investigators with the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, SERVE is looking at the impact of varying reform models on students’ enrollment and success in college preparatory mathematics and science courses. The study design includes a comparative interrupted time series analysis and a multilevel survival analysis of student coursetaking in different high school reform models. These analyses are supported by surveys and site visits designed to understand school-level policies and practices that support success in these courses.

Client: National Science Foundation
Funding Agency: National Science Foundation
Topics: Mathematics, Science, Coursetaking, College Prep
Contact: Nina Arshavsky


Literacy

Project: Read to Achieve in North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction contracted with SERVE Center to collect data during spring 2014 regarding the statewide implementation of Read to Achieve (RtA). SERVE collected data intended to reflect the experiences and perceptions of educators with RtA and included: online surveys, interviews in six districts, and focus groups held in all eight regions of the state. Each of the three data collection approaches focused on five affected role types: 1) district superintendents, 2) district elementary supervisors or others who were the Read to Achieve contact/leader for the district, 3) elementary principals, 4) 3rd grade teachers, and 5) K-2 teachers.

Client: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education
Topics: Reading, Literacy
Contact: Wendy McColskey


SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT

Project: South Carolina Department of Education School Improvement Fund Evaluation

The purpose of the external evaluation is to answer implementation and outcome questions of interest to the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE). The overarching question guiding the evaluation is the extent to which the additional funding was used by sub-grantee schools to support “high quality, sustainable school improvement activities that increase the likelihood that students learn challenging academic content and achieve proficiency.”

Client: South Carolina Department of Education
Funding: South Carolina Department of Education via grant for U.S. Department of Education
Topics: Sustainability, School Improvement
Contact: Kathleen Mooney

Project: University of North Carolina - General Administration Leadership for Turnaround School Training Evaluation

The purpose of this process evaluation was to examine participants’ reactions to the professional development training, understand the extent to which participants acquired the intended knowledge and skills, identify what organizational support is in place or currently being developed to support the use of knowledge gained, describe how participants are applying the new knowledge and skills gained from the professional development training, and assess the extent to which student achievement in the participating schools is improving. Each of these questions was explored for Elementary, Middle, and High Schools participating in the professional development training.

Client: Center for School Leadership Development
Funding Agency: University of North Carolina – General Administration
Topics: Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Leadership, Professional Development, Student Achievement

Project: Winston-Salem Forsyth County (WSFC) Schools Rigorous Magnet Evaluation

The purpose of this rigorous evaluation was to examine the impact that magnet schools have on students and subgroups of students and to identify mediating factors. The external evaluation provided staff at WSFCS with useful information for formative project improvement as well as overall program outcomes. The evaluation design was a multi-site analysis based on (1) surveys with students and staff, (2) quantitative analysis of achievement data, and (3) focus groups with each magnet school.

Client: Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, Magnet School Program
Funding: U.S. Department of Education
Topics: Magnet School, Rigorous, School Choice

TEACHER RECRUITMENT/RETENTION

Project: Guilford County Schools Mission Possible Evaluation 

The purpose of this 5-year evaluation was to determine the extent to which: (1) the most highly qualified teachers and administrators are being recruited and retained; (2) the Mission Possible training and incentives impact teacher and student outcomes at Guilford County’s Mission Possible Schools; (3) the Mission Possible teachers and administrators are trained as proposed. Propensity score matching will be used to identify comparison schools within North Carolina. Other data collected by SERVE included a climate survey and publicly available state data.

Client: Guilford County Schools, NC
Funding: Guilford County Schools Teaching Incentive Grant
Topics: Teacher Incentive Pay, Teacher Recruitment and Retention, Math, English

TECHNOLOGY 


Project: Crystal Island: Developing Science Problem-Solving Skills and Engagement Through Intelligent Game-Based Learning Environments

The objective of this project was to design, build, and empirically evaluate an intelligent game-based learning environment for fifth grade science education. To promote effective science learning, the project created intelligent game-based learning environment technologies that leveraged the rich interactive 3D game environments provided by commercial game engines and the artificial intelligence capabilities of intelligent tutoring systems. The project investigated the impact of intelligent game-based learning environments on problem solving, engagement, and STEM learning.

Client: NC State University (William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation)
Funding Agency: National Science Foundation
Topics: Engagement, STEM Learning, Science, Problem Solving, Game-Based Learning


Project: New Schools Project—Redesign 2.0 Initiative

The Redesign 2.0 Initiative was a collaborative partnership among SAS, the North Carolina New Schools Project (NCNSP), the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, and school districts to create highly effective schools that demonstrate effective teaching practices through the use of technology. The intent of these schools, with the active support of their districts, was to demonstrate effective instruction and student support with the overarching goal of graduating 100% of students prepared for work and for the option of college.

Client: SAS, the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation
Funding: The North Carolina New Schools Project, SAS, Inc., the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation
Topics: Effective teaching practices through the use of technology

Project: Scale-Up: Scaling up STEM Learning with the VCL

This Scale Up project uses advanced cyber infrastructure in combination with sustained, relevant professional development to support teachers' use of advanced software tools in algebra and geometry. All of these components have been demonstrated as promising approaches to addressing STEM workforce shortfalls among under-represented populations. Together, they form a powerful strategy for effectively scaling up regionally and nationally. This project focused on a set of rural school systems in North Carolina as a test bed for conducting a rigorous evaluation of scale-up. Opportunities for students to engage in problem-solving and inquiry approaches to learning mathematics in technology-rich environments to address knowledge, skills, and dispositions are crucial for STEM workforce readiness.

Client: NSCU, The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation
Funding: National Science Foundation
Topics: Teacher Professional Development, STEM Learning

Project: TechMath: Real World Math, Technology and Business Connections
TechMath was a three-year program linking businesses, teachers, students, and higher education to enhance rural, underserved student career potential in northeastern North Carolina. TechMath addressed the current educational gap between real-world business and education by arranging partnerships between local businesses and mathematics and science teachers. The tangible products of these partnerships were instructional modules incorporating local, real-world business problems into mathematics instruction. The local partnerships and the resulting instruction was expected to empower the high percentage of underserved, underrepresented students of rural North Carolina to pursue a wider range of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career options.

Client: East Carolina University
Funding Agency: National Science Foundation
Topics: STEM Learning, Student Engagement
Contact: Kathleen Mooney