The mission of the Urban Education Research Center (UERC) is to create reliable, usable knowledge about education in urban areas with the goal of promoting excellent schooling and improving the lives, opportunities, and communities of urban residents in the Greater Kansas City community and the nation.
The center accomplishes this mission through collaborative, data rich approaches including technical assistance and consultation and rigorous research using range methodological tools.
The UERC is a research arm of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Education (SOE). The Center works collaboratively within the SOE, across the university and in conjunction with local partners and communities. Collaborators and partners include education leaders, educators, researchers, community leaders, advocacy groups and service organizations throughout the Kansas City metro area.
Our vision is to serve the Greater Kansas City Community, and by so doing, to better understand urban challenges across the nation. The center intends to accomplish this vision through cutting-edge research that
- Identifies, analyzes, and diagnoses problems
- Determines which policies and programs work best for which groups and under what circumstances, and
- Uses this knowledge to create reliably excellent educational opportunities for urban residents.
We believe that a diversity of perspectives and involvement of diverse constituents are key to understanding and solving urban education issues that have national applicability. We believe that working collaboratively, academics, practitioners, community organizations, not-for-profit organizations, and the general public will facilitate our understanding to solve critical urban issues.
Teacher Instructional Time Use Study
The purpose of this study is to develop a survey method called the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM) for use with teachers. The method has been used to measure “daily life experience” in the general population but to date, has not been used with teachers. The novel reporting method in which teachers report on the episodes of their day, has been shown to be more accurate than standard surveys. The DRM survey developed for this study will provide a fine-grained portrait of teachers’ work, how they feel about their work, and how their work context affects what they do and how they feel.
Evaluation of the Authentic Intellectual Work Initiative
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of the Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW) initiative on student engagement, student achievement, and teaching practice. The initiative is being implemented in high schools in Iowa, Wisconsin and Georgia. The program outlines three criteria for authentic intellectual work: construction of knowledge, disciplined inquiry, and value beyond school.
Work that is authentically connected to students’ lives and their cultures work is a way teachers can provide students with culturally relevant learning experiences. These criteria are elaborated in detailed standards and rubrics that provide teachers with a common language and concepts they use to discuss, analyze, critique, and improve their work and that of their students. The main vehicle for teacher learning in the program is scoring meetings in which the standards and rubrics are used to analyze and score: teacher assignments and assessment tasks, student work, and teachers’ classroom instruction.
The study takes an in depth look at the impact of the program on student engagement and their engagement in authentic intellectual work in a sample of 44 Iowa high schools. The study also looks at the impact of the program on student achievement statewide using in depth longitudinal administrative records. Eric Camburn is conducting the study with Peter Steiner at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.