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EPI Expands K-12 Program Evaluation Services

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, January 27, 2010 — The Educational Policy Institute (EPI), a non-profit think tank on education, recently began work on four multi-year, K-12 program evaluations in the states of Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Evaluation of the Teacher Immersion Residency Teacher Quality Partnership Grant (2009-2014), Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia. EPI serves as the external evaluator for this grant to improve the quality of teaching in high-needs schools in southeastern Virginia. This initiative builds on successful teacher residency models that recruit candidates with undergraduate degrees in high-need content fields, immerse them in an induction program housed in an urban school, provide them mentoring and instruction founded on research, and continue to offer professional development during the early years of their careers. As part of its evaluation of this initiative, EPI will assess project outputs, short-term outcomes, and long-term outcomes using a mixed methods evaluation design that includes data collection through teacher interviews and focus groups and classroom and program observations, as well as analysis of student achievement, graduation, and personnel data.

Evaluation for Safe Schools/Healthy Students Grant (2009-2013), Lawrence County School District, Monticello, Mississippi. EPI serves as the external evaluator for this initiative, which seeks to unite early childhood services, schools, mental health, juvenile justice and law enforcement in a common cause to promote the healthy development of children and youth in the context of violence-prevention and drug-free schools and communities for Lawrence County and the City of Laurel, Mississippi. EPI is developing survey instruments, overseeing the collection of field data, and analyzing and reporting data in response to GPRA measures and project-level objectives. As part of this evaluation, EPI is conducting monthly technical assistance visits with project staff and an annual three-day site visit as part of the implementation evaluation.

Evaluation of the Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy (2009-11), Pittsburgh Public Schools.
EPI was contracted by Pittsburgh Public Schools to plan and execute an evaluation of the implementation process and early impacts of the Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy, a new 6-12th grade school that is the product of three years of planning and research. Using scientifically-based research methods and measures EPI will provide program evaluation services focused on 1) the program in practice relative to its goals, design, and program theory, 2) the impact of design and process on the overall and the daily experience of students and staff, 3) preliminary impact on student motivation and achievement and, 4) preliminary impact on the ability of the program to attract and retain students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Evaluation of the Teaching American History Initiative (2009-2012), Newport News Public Schools. EPI serves as the external evaluator for the Newport News (VA) Teaching American History grant, awarded in 2009. This initiative includes the use of vertically aligned professional learning teams in addition to intensive professional development in American history content and pedagogy led by a team of history professionals from regional universities and museums. EPI’s work includes the development and administration of a teacher knowledge assessment, focus groups, review of teacher team products, and analysis of student achievement data. EPI also advised on the program design during the application phase.

In addition to these evaluation projects, EPI is currently working with the College of William and Mary’s School-University Research Network on the evaluation of two professional development initiatives supported by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and Virginia Department of Education. EPI also continues as an evaluator of the Innovative Support for Transitions and Educational Preparation (I-STEP), a School Board of Osceola County, Florida program, and Hampton GEAR UP, a Hampton City Schools (Virginia) initiative; both projects are supported by grant awards from the U.S. Department of Education.

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The Educational Policy Institute is a 501(c)3 corporation based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with offices in Winnipeg, Canada, and Melbourne, Australia. The mission of the Educational Policy Institute is to “expand educational opportunity for low-income and other historically-underrepresented students through high-level research and analysis.” For more information on EPI, visit