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Child Trends’ education research focuses on how children and youth can flourish in school. We examine supportive characteristics of the individual, the school, and the family to improve student outcomes . Areas of research expertise include: social and emotional learning and non-academic competencies; college and workplace readiness; school climate and discipline; bullying; integrated student services; charter schools; family strengths and involvement in education; international comparisons; character education; dropout prevention and recovery; and afterschool and summer learning.  We offer technical assistance, including survey, measure, and indicator development, research syntheses, data and policy analysis, program evaluation, and reviews of best practices to identify what works and what doesn’t.

Featured Projects

Featured Publications

The Academic Achievement of English Language Learners: Data for the U.S. and Each of the States

Dec 2014 | David Murphey

This brief compares national trends over time in academic achievement for students who are English language learners (ELLs) and their peers who are not English language learners. The measures used are from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP): the percentage of fourth-graders scored as performing at a “basic or above” level in reading, and the percentage of eighth-graders scored as performing at a “basic or above” level in mathematics.

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Connecting the Dots: Raising A Reader Builds Evidence Base for its Parent Engagement and Early Literacy Program

Nov 2014 | Karen Walker; Rachel A. Gooze; Alicia Torres

This brief examines the case of Raising A Reader (RAR), which has been steadily building its evidence base over many years and is now positioned to undertake such a comprehensive evaluation. RAR is a national nonprofit literacy organization which, through work with direct service agencies, helps develop sustainable home literacy routines essential to language and literacy development. The brief first summarizes the research base for family literacy programs and the emerging evidence base for RAR. It then describes the RAR program and how it uses a variety of data to regularly improve its program, inform programming integrity, and prepare for a randomized controlled trial. In closing, the brief addresses the lessons for the broader field.

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Bullying Prevention in District of Columbia Educational Institutions: School Year 2013-14 Compliance Report

Oct 2014 | Deborah Temkin; Susannah Horton; Audrey Kim

The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights’ bullying prevention initiative, RFK Project SEATBELT (RFKC) was contracted by the DC Office of Human Rights (OHR), in June 2013, to provide resources and support for DC public and public charter schools’ bullying prevention efforts. This contract moved to Child Trends in August 2014. From August 2013 through September 2014, an audit of each local education agency’s (LEA) anti‐bullying policy was conducted to determine the extent to which it is compliant with the 2012 Youth Bullying Prevention Act (YBPA; DC Law L19‐167).

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What if You Earned a Diploma and Delayed Parenthood? Intergenerational Simulations of Delayed Childbearing and Increased Education

Jun 2014 | Kristin Anderson Moore; Vanessa Harbin Sacks; Jennifer Manlove; Isabel Sawhill

This brief reports the results of using the Social Genome Model to provide a better understanding of how delaying childbearing and improving the educational attainment of teen mothers in one generation can be linked to the improved economic well-being of their children. This brief specifically reports results from “What if” simulations, in which teen mothers’ age at their first birth was increased by two or five years and in which the mothers earn a high school diploma. The implications of these changes on the life of the mothers’ children are estimated through childhood and up to age 29.

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