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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 and prevent drop out. Areas of research expertise include: non-academic competencies; college and workplace readiness; school climate; family strengths and involvement in education; character education; social and emotional learning; dropout prevention and recovery; charter schools and other school choice initiatives; place-based initiatives to improve educational outcomes; afterschool and summer learning; and educator effectiveness. We also offer technical assistance, including assistance with survey and measure development, synthesizing research, data analysis, policy analysis, program evaluation, reviews of best practices and initiatives to identify what works and what doesn’t.

Featured Publications

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

Nov 2014 | Karen Walker; Rachel 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 A. Moore; Vanessa H. 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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Social Indicators Predicting Postsecondary Success

Apr 2014 | Daniel Princiotta; Laura Lippman; Renee Ryberg; Hannah Schmitz; David Murphey; Mae Cooper

Only about 59 percent of full-time, first-time students at four-year institutions complete such a degree within six years at the same school. Completion rates are even lower for those starting part-time, or at less than four-year schools (and planning to transfer). Which social indicators—such as student engagement, enrollment status, and family status—are tied to post-secondary completion? In a recent study funded by Lumina Foundation, we identified multiple indicators for increasing the odds of completion, and found that there are four social indicators that are related to the odds of postsecondary completion across students attending both two-year and four-year colleges: part-time status; having a child; number of transfers; and speaking with faculty about academic matters outside of class. Indicators differ by four–year, two-year, or less than two year institutions, and whether the student is traditional or non-traditional, and by race and ethnicity. Child Trends recommends indicators and data sources for monitoring these indicators that can be used for the improvement of postsecondary institutions and student postsecondary completion rates nationally.

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