Projects


The SERVE Center works with federal, state, and district agencies, institutes of higher education, and with other education organizations to provide services in the areas of research and development, evaluation, professional development, and technical assistance.

A sampling of sponsored projects is provided below.

  • STUDENT SUPPORT

    National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)

    NCHE is the U.S. Department of Education’s technical assistance and information dissemination center in the area of homeless education. NCHE supports the work of administrators, educators, service providers, and agencies in removing barriers to the enrollment and success of homeless children and youth and, in the implementation of the McKinney-Vento Act.

    Client: U.S. Department of Education
    Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education
    Topics: homeless education, homeless and unaccompanied youth, McKinney-Vento
    Contact: George Hancock


    North Carolina Homeless Education Program

    The NCHEP administers the homeless education program for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The program provides guidance, technical assistance, staff development, and oversight to all local education agencies in the state in removing barriers to the enrollment and success of homeless children and youth, and in implementing the provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act. The program conducts and oversees the process of providing subgrants to local education agencies in accordance with the McKinney-Vento Act.

    Client: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
    Funding Agency: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
    Topics: homeless education, homeless and unaccompanied youth, McKinney-Vento 
    Contact: Lisa Phillips


    North Carolina Foster Education Program

    The SERVE Center administers the foster education program for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The program provides guidance, technical assistance, staff development, and oversight to all local education agencies in the state in removing barriers to the enrollment and success of children and youth in foster care. 

    Client: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
    Funding Agency: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
    Topics: child welfare, foster education
    Contact: Sara Bigley


    Increasing School Readiness in the Face of Homelessness

    Planning and conducting an interagency summit to increase service providers’ capacity to improve school readiness for young homeless children; developing training materials, publications, and a needs assessment customized for Indiana early childhood service providers to increase their capacity to serve homeless children.

    Client: Indiana Head Start Collaboration Office
    Funding Agency: Indiana Head Start Collaboration Office
    Topics: homeless children, early childhood
    Contact: Christina Endres


    Migrant Education Program Service Delivery Plan Toolkit, Comprehensive Needs Assessment Toolkit, and Program Evaluation Toolkit

    Developing toolkits designed to assist state Migrant Education Programs in carrying out required planning, implementation, and program evaluation activities. Each toolkit includes planning tools and practical strategies shared by Migrant Education Program state directors.

    Client: U.S. Department of Education Office of Migrant Education
    Funding Agency: Texas State University-San Marcos
    Topics: migrant education, migratory children and youth, program planning, program evaluation
    Contact: Diana Bowman

    Migrant Education New Directors' Orientation

    Developing a 14-module tutorial that provides essential information, interactive quizzes, and planning tools for new state directors for the Migrant Education Program.

    Client:U.S. Department of Education, Office of Migrant Education
    Funding Agency: Texas State University-San Marcos
    Topics: migrant education, migratory children and youth, professional development
    Contact: Beth Thrift


    NAEHCY Higher Education Toolkit and Higher Education Initiative Evaluation

    (1) Developing a toolkit for educational administrators, school social workers, and school counselors to assist homeless students in accessing higher education; (2) conducting an evaluation of NAEHCY’s higher education network initiative that included an analysis of data from help requests, interviews with network participants, and meeting observations.

    Client: National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)
    Funding Agency: NAEHCY
    Topics: homeless youth, higher education, program evaluation
    Contact: Christina Dukes or Kathleen Mooney


    Region X - HEO Texas Toolkit 

    Developing an Education for Homeless Children and Youth program implementation manual for local homeless liaisons in Texas, which builds on NCHE’s Homeless Liaison Toolkit and the Texas Homeless Educators’ Source Book. The eight-chapter manual includes planning tools and implementation strategies tailored for the Texas Education for Homeless Children and Youth program and designed to enable local liaisons to implement a homeless education program customized for their school district.

    Client: Region 10 Education Service Center
    Funding Agency: Region 10 Education Service Center
    Topics: homeless education, homeless children and youth, program planning
    Contact: Diana Bowman

  • CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION

    Crystal Island: Developing Science Problem-Solving Skills and Engagement Through Intelligent Game-Based Learning Environments

    The objective of this project was to design, build, and empirically evaluate an intelligent game-based learning environment for fifth grade science education. To promote effective science learning, the project created intelligent game-based learning environment technologies that leveraged the rich interactive 3D game environments provided by commercial game engines and the artificial intelligence capabilities of intelligent tutoring systems. The project investigated the impact of intelligent game-based learning environments on problem solving, engagement, and STEM learning.


    Client: NC State University (William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation)
    Funding Agency: National Science Foundation
    Topics: student engagement, STEM, science, problem Solving, game-based learning

    Evaluation of Horry County Historical Inquiry Project

    This is a mixed method evaluation of Horry County’s Historical Inquiry Project, a project funded by the Teaching American History program. Using survey data, content knowledge assessments, and student achievement data, the evaluation looked at the impact of the project on teachers’ content knowledge and historical thinking skills, as well as on student outcomes.

    Client: Horry County Schools
    Funding Agency: US Department of Education
    Topics: professional development, student achievement; teacher content knowledge


    Read to Achieve in North Carolina

    The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction contracted with SERVE Center to collect data during spring 2014 regarding the statewide implementation of Read to Achieve (RtA). SERVE collected data intended to reflect the experiences and perceptions of educators with RtA and included: online surveys, interviews in six districts, and focus groups held in all eight regions of the state. Each of the three data collection approaches focused on five affected role types: 1) district superintendents, 2) district elementary supervisors or others who were the Read to Achieve contact/leader for the district, 3) elementary principals, 4) 3rd grade teachers, and 5) K-2 teachers.

    Client: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction 
    Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education 
    Topics: reading, literacy
    Contact: Wendy McColskey

  • HIGH SCHOOL REFORM

    Efficacy of North Carolina’s Learn and Earn Early College High School Model

    A partnership effort with the North Carolina New Schools Project, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Duke University, Abt Associates, and RTI International, this longitudinal experimental study is examining the impact of North Carolina’s Learn and Earn Early College High School Model. Participating schools used a lottery to select students; the study then followed students who were randomly selected to both attend and not attend the school. The study compares both sets of students on a broad range of outcomes including achievement, coursetaking, attendance, dropout, and student attitudes and behaviors. In addition, the study is collecting information on model implementation to identify any particular components of the model that are associated with better student outcomes.

    Client: Institute of Educations Sciences (IES)
    Funding Agency: US Department of Education
    Topic: Early College High Schools, program evaluation 
    Contact: Julie Edmunds


    Evaluation of the Early College Expansion Project

    This is a quasi-experimental evaluation of a five-year project funded by an Investing in Innovation grant.  The project is implementing early college strategies in comprehensive high schools in Texas and Colorado.

    Client: Jobs for the Future
    Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education
    Topics: early college, dual enrollment, quasi-experimental design, program evaluation
    Contact: Julie Edmunds or Karla Lewis


    Evaluation of the STEM Early College Expansion Project (SECEP)

    This is a quasi-experimental evaluation of a five-year project funded by an Investing in Innovation grant.  The project is seeking to integrate early college efforts with STEM instructional strategies. SECEP is being implemented in school districts in Michigan and Connecticut. 

    Client: Teachers College Columbia University
    Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education
    Topics: STEM, early college, dual enrollment, quasi-experimental design, program evaluation
    Contact: Julie Edmunds or Nina Arshavsky


    Evaluation of Project COMPASS

    This is an evaluation of the impact of Project COMPASS, which seeks to improve students’ outcomes in online courses. Funded by a First in the World grant, the project integrates technology-based (High Tech) strategies with increased efforts to reach out to students (High Touch strategies).  The evaluation uses an experimental design in which students are randomly assigned to treatment or control sections.

    Client: Wake Technical Community College
    Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education
    Topics: community college, online learning, technology, experimental design, program evaluation
    Contact: Julie Edmunds or Beth Thrift


    Evaluation of the Central Ohio College and Career Readiness Partnership

    This is an evaluation of a five-year regional effort to increase the number of students in Central Ohio who are prepared for college and career.  Funded by an Investing in Innovation grant, the Partnership is implementing early college approaches in comprehensive high schools.  The evaluation uses a quasi-experimental design in which participating schools are matched to similar, non-participating schools.

    Client: Columbus State Community College
    Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education
    Topics: early college, dual enrollment, quasi-experimental design, program evaluation
    Contact: Julie Edmunds or Eric Grebing


    Exploring Why Students Leave Early College High Schools

    This project uses school enrollment data, survey data, and site visits to explore the number of students leaving Early College High Schools and to identify reasons they might leave. The project will look at Early College High Schools across the country with the goal of providing information that will help the schools serve their students more effectively.

    Client: Jobs for the Future Funding
    Agency: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
    Topics: professional development, Early College High Schools, program evaluation 
    Contact: Julie Edmunds


    High School Mathematics and Science Pipeline Study

    As co-investigators with the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, SERVE is looking at the impact of varying reform models on students’ enrollment and success in college preparatory mathematics and science courses. The study design includes a comparative interrupted time series analysis and a multilevel survival analysis of student coursetaking in different high school reform models. These analyses are supported by surveys and site visits designed to understand school-level policies and practices that support success in these courses.

    Client: National Science Foundation Funding
    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Topics: mathematics, science, coursetaking, college prep, program evaluation
    Contact: Nina Arshavsky


    The Impact of Early College High Schools

    This is a twelve-year longitudinal study studying the impact of early college high schools in North Carolina. The study uses a lottery-based experimental design to compare results for students who were randomly accepted to the early college with results for students who were randomly not accepted. Results have shown positive impacts on high school and postsecondary outcomes.

    Funding Agency: Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education
    Topics: early colleges, dual enrollment, experimental design, program evaluation 
    Contact: Julie Edmunds 

  • PROGRAM EVALUATION

    Project: North Carolina Race to the Top Evaluation

    SERVE Center is partnering with The Friday Institute (NCSU) and the Carolina Institute of Public Policy (UNC-CH) to conduct the evaluation of the implementation of the North Carolina Race to the Top project (2010-2014). The purpose of the evaluation is to provide formative feedback for program improvement as well as to determine project impact on target goals for each initiative and for overall state-level outcome goals.

    Client: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
    Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education
    Topics: teacher & leader effectiveness, supply and equitable distribution of teachers, regional leadership academies, new teacher support (induction) programs, educator incentives, Virtual Public Schools blended-learning STEM courses, teacher recruitment, professional development, district and school transformation, STEM Schools Network, local spending, cloud computing
    Contact: Nina Arshavsky

  • SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT

    South Carolina Department of Education School Improvement Fund Evaluation

    The purpose of the external evaluation is to answer implementation and outcome questions of interest to the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE). The overarching question guiding the evaluation is the extent to which the additional funding was used by sub-grantee schools to support “high quality, sustainable school improvement activities that increase the likelihood that students learn challenging academic content and achieve proficiency.”

    Client: South Carolina Department of Education
    Funding: South Carolina Department of Education via grant for U.S. Department of Education
    Topics: Sustainability; School Improvement
    Contact: Kathleen Mooney


    University of North Carolina - General Administration Leadership for Turnaround School Training Evaluation

    The purpose of this process evaluation was to examine participants’ reactions to the professional development training, understand the extent to which participants acquired the intended knowledge and skills, identify what organizational support is in place or currently being developed to support the use of knowledge gained, describe how participants are applying the new knowledge and skills gained from the professional development training, and assess the extent to which student achievement in the participating schools is improving. Each of these questions was explored for Elementary, Middle, and High Schools participating in the professional development training.

    Client: Center for School Leadership Development
    Funding Agency: University of North Carolina – General Administration
    Topics: Elementary school; Middle school; High school; Leadership; Professional development; Student achievement


    Winston-Salem Forsyth County (WSFC) Schools Rigorous Magnet Evaluation

    The purpose of this rigorous evaluation was to examine the impact that magnet schools have on students and subgroups of students and to identify mediating factors. The external evaluation provided staff at WSFCS with useful information for formative project improvement as well as overall program outcomes. The evaluation design was a multi-site analysis based on (1) surveys with students and staff, (2) quantitative analysis of achievement data, and (3) focus groups with each magnet school.

    Client: Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, Magnet School Program
    Funding: U.S. Department of Education
    Topics: Magnet School; Rigorous; School Choice

  • TEACHER RECRUITMENT/RETENTION

    Guilford County Schools Mission Possible Evaluation

    The purpose of this 5-year evaluation was to determine the extent to which: (1) the most highly qualified teachers and administrators are being recruited and retained; (2) the Mission Possible training and incentives impact teacher and student outcomes at Guilford County’s Mission Possible Schools; (3) the Mission Possible teachers and administrators are trained as proposed. Propensity score matching will be used to identify comparison schools within North Carolina. Other data collected by SERVE included a climate survey and publicly available state data.

    Client: Guilford County Schools, NC
    Funding: Guilford County Schools Teaching Incentive Grant
    Topics: teacher incentive pay, teacher recruitment and
    retention, math, English


    New Schools Project—Redesign 2.0 Initiative

    The Redesign 2.0 Initiative was a collaborative partnership among SAS, the North Carolina New Schools Project (NCNSP), the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, and school districts to create highly effective schools that demonstrate effective teaching practices through the use of technology. The intent of these schools, with the active support of their districts, was to demonstrate effective instruction and student support with the overarching goal of graduating 100% of students prepared for work and for the option of college.

    Client: SAS, the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation
    Funding: The North Carolina New Schools Project, SAS, Inc., the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation
    Topics: effective teaching practices through the use of technology


    Scale-Up: Scaling up STEM Learning with the VCL

    This Scale Up project uses advanced cyber infrastructure in combination with sustained, relevant professional development to support teachers' use of advanced software tools in algebra and geometry. All of these components have been demonstrated as promising approaches to addressing STEM workforce shortfalls among under-represented populations. Together, they form a powerful strategy for effectively scaling up regionally and nationally. This project focused on a set of rural school systems in North Carolina as a test bed for conducting a rigorous evaluation of scale-up. Opportunities for students to engage in problem-solving and inquiry approaches to learning mathematics in technology-rich environments to address knowledge, skills, and dispositions are crucial for STEM workforce readiness.

    Client: NSCU, The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation
    Funding: National Science Foundation
    Topics: teacher professional development, STEM learning


    TechMath: Real World Math, Technology and Business Connections

    TechMath was a three-year program linking businesses, teachers, students, and higher education to enhance rural, underserved student career potential in northeastern North Carolina. TechMath addressed the current educational gap between real-world business and education by arranging partnerships between local businesses and mathematics and science teachers. The tangible products of these partnerships were instructional modules incorporating local, real-world business problems into mathematics instruction. The local partnerships and the resulting instruction was expected to empower the high percentage of underserved, underrepresented students of rural North Carolina to pursue a wider range of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career options.

    Client: East Carolina University Funding
    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Topics: STEM learning, student engagement
    Contact: Kathleen Mooney


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