Ann Arbor’s U-M, East Lansing’s MSU, State Department of Ed to Collaborate on Education Research


Ann Arbor’s University of Michigan, East Lansing’s Michigan State University, and the Michigan Department of Education and the Center for Educational Performance and Information Tuesday announced a research collaboration based at a new data center at U-M.

The Michigan Education Research Institute and Michigan Education Data Center will facilitate research projects in education and make data accessible.

“Becoming a top-10 education state in 10 years takes a knowledge of what is happening in our schools now, learning what has proven successful, and using that to develop better practices for all our educators and students,” says Sheila Alles, interim state superintendent.

The center also will build and act as a clearinghouse for educational records provided to researchers while maintaining the privacy rights of students. U-M has experience securely hosting local and national datasets.

“While ensuring privacy and confidentiality of students’ data, we will be able to learn what works and what doesn’t, so our educators can provide the best education for Michigan’s students,” says Susan Dynarski, professor of economics, education and public policy.

The institute will be advised by a council of stakeholders representing education leaders and policymakers from the state, region, and nationally.

One of the key projects the institute will tackle early on is a multiyear implementation study of the state’s competency-based education pilot. The study is meant to help the Michigan Department of Education understand how to best meet the needs of schools and districts that are transitioning to competency-based models, which provide flexibility in the way that students can earn credit, according to the U.S. Department of Education. It will include surveys of principals, teachers, and students, as well as visits to competency-based education schools.

Other policy areas to study include charter schools, choice, assessment of student outcomes, and preparation and employment of teachers and school leaders, says Robert Floden, dean of the MSU College of Education.

The collaboration is funded in large part by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.