Grants

The Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (RIDE) and the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (RIOPC) are pleased to announce a Joint Research Initiative. Funds will support small-scale research projects that use longitudinal data to identify new directions in policy and practice aimed at promoting the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities.




The Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (RIDE) and the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (RIOPC) are pleased to announce 4 winners of joint research award mini-grants:

Project Lead: Hilary Jansson, PhD, RN, Professor of Nursing, CCRI
Partner: Stepping Up
Award Amount: $15,000

This study will investigate the factors that predict successful placement and completion of the Associate’s Degree in Nursing at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). Using a retrospective analysis of nursing placement and success between 2009-2014, the research team will consider whether factors such as pre-admission GPA, pre-admission coursework especially in the sciences (including at the high school level), and sequencing of pre-admission coursework can predict success for students. Responding to the Research Advisory Council’s questions, this project seeks to address the skills gap in Rhode Island students seeking nursing as a profession and to identify factors that can better align education and training programs to meet workforce needs. In addition, the researchers anticipate that findings will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of advising and admission for CCRI’s nursing program, potentially encouraging policy shifts to ensure equity for high school students who intend to pursue healthcare majors. This study will produce a policy brief that will include recommendations on the strategic organization of science and math coursework at the K-12 level, as well as recommendations for improving academic and career advising at CCRI.


Project Lead: Stephen Reder, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Applied Linguistics, Portland State University
Partners: West Bay Collaborative (Adult Education Professional Development Center), Providence Public Library (RI Family Literacy Initiative)
Award Amount: $15,000

This research project will investigate the impact of participation in adult basic skills programs on the future employment and earnings, GED attainment, postsecondary education and training, and voting behavior for high school dropouts in Rhode Island. Our findings will help Rhode Island make more effective investments in youth and adult skill-building and lifelong learning and improve the alignment of adult education with other education and workforce systems. The project addresses three key questions from the Data Sharing Project Advisory Council’s research agenda: how to improve the alignment between the state’s education and training programs and its workforce needs; how to use linked state administrative data to improve existing programs and services; and how agencies can share data to inform their work. The project will produce a research summary for the public, a day-long workshop for policymakers and program staff, and a proposal for non-Rhode Island funding to expand and continue the research.


Project Lead: Bryan Dewsbury, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology, URI
Partner: Resilient Kids
Award Amount: $10,100

The research project will examine the impact of a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) based program on academic performance and behavior in three demographically distinct Rhode Island schools. Our findings will help determine the skills gaps in our secondary student graduates, both in terms of soft skill development and the contribution of those soft skills to academic performance during school. We address here the Rhode Island Data Sharing Advisory Council research questions on the 1) skills gaps present in Rhode Island’s workforce and 2) measures being used to describe skill gaps and the ability to capture progress made by interventions. We will produce a manuscript for peer-reviewed publication based on our findings, and a proposal for presentation at a national education conference.


Project Lead: Peg Ferguson Boyd, Assistant Dean, College of Business, URI
Award Amount: $8,000

Calling upon the college completion action, this mini-study will examine the relationship between Rhode Island’s Joint Articulation Admissions (JAA) program and 4-year-degree completion rates at Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island. Using a causal-comparative study, the research team will compare persistence to degree completion for JAA transfer students versus non-JAA transfer students. This study will also consider variables such as community college GPA, 4-year completion GPA, time to completion, Pell eligibility, and number of earned credits. The project addresses several questions from the Data Sharing Project Advisory Council’s agenda: how successful are attempts to close Rhode Island’s skill gaps; how to use linked state administrative data to improve existing programs and services; how agencies can share data to inform their work; and how can linked state administrative data provide policymakers and state administrators with new insights about existing programs and services. Findings will be presented as a policy brief to the higher education leadership teams of the state system and could be used as a basis for a fuller evaluation of the JAA program and transfer articulation.