The Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) brings together education experts from renowned research institutions, including Teachers College, Columbia University; the University of Pennsylvania; Harvard University; Stanford University; the University of Michigan; the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Northwestern University. CPRE was created in 1985 as the first national federally funded research and development center for state and local education policy. Since then, CPRE has studied the design, implementation, and effects of hundreds of policies and programs intended to improve elementary and secondary education, and is widely considered to be among the premier university-based research organizations focused on education policy and evaluation in the world. CPRE researchers and staff at Teachers College (CPRE-TC) are continuing this long tradition by conducting rigorous research and evaluation that aims to improve education through increased effectiveness, equity, and access.

Over the past several decades, CPRE’s research has been supported through generous funding from many sources, including the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation, Spencer Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Goldman Sachs Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Merck Institute for Science Education, National Center on Education and the Economy, Pew Charitable Trusts, Rockefeller Foundation, Student Achievement Partners, General Electric Foundation, SRI International, American Museum of Natural History, the Robin Hood Foundation, Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation, Fundação Lemann, and Itaú Social. 

Our Approach to Research  

CPRE-TC engages with a diverse portfolio of research topics and partners. Our work spans grade levels, outcomes and disciplines, domestic and international settings, and the non-profit, for-profit, and government sectors. Given the array of projects we undertake, we are by necessity question-focused, rather than methods-focused, and we bring a broad set of analytic and epistemological tools to our work. CPRE-TC researchers are experts in designing and conducting experimental, quasi-experimental, mixed-methods, and qualitative studies. Common across this work is our determination to apply the most rigorous and systematic techniques available and to tailor our methods to the particular demands of each project. Ultimately, our aim is to ask informed questions and apply sophisticated analytic tools to determine whether policies and programs are fulfilling their intended aims, and are working in the best interest of students, families, schools, and communities.

We are also committed to disseminating our findings to diverse audiences and to advancing the knowledge base for practitioners, policymakers, and researchers. In addition to these general approaches and characteristics, we also seek to be:


Recent and Ongoing Projects

Brazil’s National Common Curricular Base (BNCC): CPRE is engaged in a five-year study of the implementation of Brazil’s National Common Core Curricular Base (BNCC). Our initial work is focused on understanding the national landscape of BNCC design and implementation through document analysis and interviews with policymakers, practitioners, and politicians across multiple sectors and governmental levels. In addition to ongoing stakeholder interviews, subsequent years will include qualitative fieldwork in 18 elementary schools across three states to better understand how the BNCC is being interpreted, perceived, and implemented in practice. This work is supported by Fundação Lemann and Itaú Social.

Cignition’s FogStone Isle: CPRE is conducting a randomized control trial (RCT) to evaluate the effectiveness of Cignition’s FogStone Isle, a game-based platform focused on mathematics instruction for grades 4-8. The study, which will take place in 10 schools during the 2018-19 school year, is being funded by the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation.

Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund’s Blended Literacy Program: The Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund seeks to leverage the potential benefits of a content-rich literacy strategy with a technology-enhanced blended learning approach that also personalizes student learning. The program will be implemented in 15-20 New York City schools serving substantial proportions of low-income students. CPRE-TC will document the processes schools develop in service to the blended literacy framework, the instructional approaches that evolve from those processes, and the impact these processes and approaches ultimately have on student outcomes. The study is funded by the Robin Hood Foundation, the Overdeck Family Foundation, and the Siegel Family Endowment.

Teach to One: Math: New Classrooms Innovation Partners was awarded an Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand its Teach to One: Math model in grades 5-8 in three schools and grades 6-8 in two schools in Elizabeth, NJ. CPRE is engaged in a four-year evaluation of these efforts. The evaluation has two primary strands: (1) a methodologically rigorous quantitative study of Teach to One’s causal impact on student mathematics performance and (2) a systematic qualitative analysis of Teach to One’s implementation processes, combined with staff interviews and classroom observations in each of the five Teach to One schools. This work is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Click here to read the final impact results.

Teacher Residency at Teachers College: Teacher Residency at Teachers College is an 18-month graduate-level teaching residency program that aims to recruit academically talented individuals from diverse backgrounds and prepares them to teach children and youth attending high-needs, urban schools in New York City. CPRE is conducting an independent evaluation of the program to document and evaluate its effects on teacher retention and classroom practice. This work is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Chevron Enjoy Science Project: CPRE is a partner in the STEM Capacity Building component of the Kenan Institute Asia’s Enjoy Science Project. The project is a five-year, public-private partnership to strengthen Thailand’s competitiveness by improving STEM and technical vocational education and training for workforce development across the country. Experts from CPRE and the Enjoy Science Project are conducting trainings in mathematics and science instruction in Samut Prakan, Khon Kean, and Songkhla. This work is funded by Chevron.

Breakthrough Charter Schools’ Performance-Based Compensation Program: Breakthrough Charter Schools in Cleveland, Ohio was awarded a five-year Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) Grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2012. Through these funds, BCS designed and implemented the “GRO” Program (Growth, Recognition, Opportunities) which aimed to increase teacher retention rates through four avenues: improved performance evaluation processes, performance-based compensation, differentiated career pathways, and improved professional development. The mixed-methods study combines an analysis of administrative data, responses to an online survey of former and current teachers, and qualitative interviews to explore four key outcomes: (1) GRO implementation, (2) relationships between GRO and teacher retention, (3) relationships between GRO and the teaching and learning environment, and (4) other non-GRO factors influencing teacher satisfaction and retention. The study is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Teacher Incentive Fund.

American Museum of Natural History Pilot Measurement Study: CPRE is assisting the Museum in its efforts to understand the socio-demographic characteristics of the students and schools it serves via its education programs. The partnership between the Museum and CPRE is particularly interested in whether this programming reaches audiences that are typically underserved by New York City educational and cultural institutions.