We have continuously sought ways to improve our program to better serve our students and communities. Some of our larger-scale improvement efforts have been undertaken through partnerships with external researchers and evaluators, which have allowed us to rely on the experts to evaluate our improvements not only for our own benefit, but also for the benefit of the larger education community.
One such effort included partnering with researchers at the Harvard Business School to improve the way we assign accepted corps members to the regions where they’ll teach. The two researchers came up with an automated matching process that significantly reduced staff time while maximizing the number of accepted applicants who are assigned to their highest-possible preferred region (i.e., rank efficient match). This assignment mechanism is still in use by our Admissions team.
Another such effort is underway with a researcher at the University of Chicago on a project to redesign the way the region matches incoming corps members to teaching positions at partnering schools. The researcher hypothesizes the new matching mechanism will decrease staff time and labor, improve corps member and placement partner satisfaction in the short term, and possibly increase teacher retention and student outcomes in the long term. This work is in progress, and we will post the results when it is completed.
Additional research on improving our programming, including an evaluation looking at the impact of the Exploring Computer Science curriculum and evaluation of our redesigned summer training institutes, are ongoing. We’ve also worked to evolve our Rural School Leadership Academy. We received a federal Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant to begin these innovations in 2018.
We are committed to working with an increasing number of external researchers and evaluators to help us learn and grow.