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Adelman Receives Lifetime Achievement Award at Retention 2007 Conference

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, June 11, 2007 — The Educational Policy Institute, a non-profit research center devoted to the study of educational opportunity, awarded its annual Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Clifford Adelman, whose research in areas of student success in secondary and postsecondary education has had a direct impact on public policy around the US and beyond.


Presented at the Educational Policy Institute's RETENTION 2007 international conference in San Antonio, Texas, the award is given annually to those individuals who have, throughout their career, made a difference in the lives of students through their work. "Cliff Adelman is perhaps the most influential researcher with regard to student retention and success at the postsecondary level that we’ve ever had,” says EPI President Dr. Watson Scott Swail. “Cliff’s work with national databases during his tenure at the U.S. Department of Education was, for researchers and policymakers, riveting, to say the least. His work opened eyes and changed perceptions of what matters for students with regard to student success.”


The author of dozens of reports, Dr. Adelman is perhaps best known for his 1999 effort, Answers in the ToolBox, an indepth analysis of data from the National Educational Longitudinal Student database, or the NELS, as it is known by researchers. In Answers, Adelman, who transcribed the high school and college transcripts of over 12,000 students, found that the most pivotal factor in determining student success at the postsecondary level was the academic rigor of high school courses. Thus, students who took more college-prep courses were much more likely to persist and succeed in college. While this is common sense to most, this was the first national, random-sampled study that could actually point to the types of courses that made a difference.


Dr. Adelman taught at Roosevelt University, CCNY, and Yale, and also served for five years as associate dean at the William Paterson College of New Jersey before joining the research and statistics division (OERI) of the U.S. Department of Education in 1979. Adelman writes frequently for the trade and general press, focusing primarily on degree completion rates, affirmative action, and the “remedial” conundrum. He is now a consultant and works part-time at the Institute for Higher Education Policy in Washington, DC.


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The Educational Policy Institute is a non-profit research center focused in issues of educational opportunity, especially for our most needy populations. Based in Virginia Beach with offices in Toronto and Melbourne, EPI conducts program evaluation, policy analysis, and conducts professional development opportunities for educational professionals throughout the education continuum. Visit the EPI website at