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Education Policy Center



The Michigan Consortium for Education Research (MCER) is a partnership between Michigan State University, University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Education focused on answering education policy questions through high-quality research. MSU College of Education scholars Barbara Schneider and Ken Frank collaborated with colleagues at UM to assess two major high school reforms: the Michigan Merit Curriculum and the Michigan Promise Scholarship. The team had a $5.9 million federal grant to study how the policy initiatives have affected student outcomes.

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Constructing Value-Added Indicators of Teacher and School Effectiveness We Can Trust

MSU researchers Mark Reckase and Jeff Wooldridge and Indiana University researcher Cassie Guarino have a federal grant to evaluate and identify which commonly-used value-added models (VAMs) accurately estimate the effects of teachers, schools and instructional practices. They plan to apply new tools for checking and improving the validity of VAMs and, ultimately, develop national guidelines for dissemination.

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Doctoral Specialization in the Economics of Education Michigan State University

The Michigan State University Doctoral Specialization in the Economics of Education draws on faculty in six doctoral programs -- Economics, Education Policy, K-12 Administration, Labor & Industrial Relations, Measurement & Quantitative Methods, and Curriculum, Instruction & Teacher Education -- to provide training that combines rigorous methodological training with hands-on research experience. Students in the program are admitted to one of these doctoral programs, then complete the specialization as they complete requirements for their doctoral degree. 

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Kalamazoo RESA Research Project

This project is one component of the Regional Data Initiatives Grant (RDI) from the Michigan Department of Education and includes participation from districts in Allegan Area Educational Service Agency, Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency, Lewis-Cass Intermediate School District, St. Joseph Intermediate School District and Van Buren Intermediate School District.

The Project Investigator is Dr. Edward Roeber, Michigan State University professor and former assessment director for the Michigan Department of Education.

The focus of this project is on teacher participants (Algebra 1 teachers from the five ISD's giving a common assessment in mathematics using different online testing platforms and mechanisms but compiling the results into an overall summary. This is a test of the concept of different ISD’s/RESA’s giving a common assessment and being able to provide statewide results. The research will focus on observation of the testing and collecting feedback as to the ease and usefulness of the assessment delivery tool and the assessment itself. The two assessment delivery tools are Pinnacle Instruction – Global Scholar and Electronic Learning Assessment Resource (ELAR) – Ottawa Area Intermediate School District.

Key research questions include:
  • Can two (or more) ISD’s collaborate on constructing a single assessment and applying it?
  • Can a common set of results from different online assessment system be compiled?
  • Can teachers use the results of these assessments and make comparisons?

MSU Research on the Implementation of Formative Assessment Professional Development in Michigan

In 2006, the State of Michigan adopted high school graduation requirements. It called for end-of-course tests to be used in determining if students learned enough to be awarded credit in the classes. Rather than simply propose an end-of-course testing system, the state proposed a balanced assessment system comprised of instructional-unit based interim benchmark assessments used during the courses, summative, end-of-course exams, and most importantly, teaching educators how to assess students formatively as they were instructing students. Thus, the Formative Assessment for Michigan Education (FAME) project began.

The MDE Office of Educational Assessment and Accountability put in place a program that provides all teachers with the knowledge and opportunity to bring effective formative assessment practices into their classrooms. The vision is to introduce teachers to “real” formative assessment and corresponding practices, as borne out by prevailing research.

MDE worked with Measured Progress to launch FAME, which this year (2010-2011) added over 70 new schools statewide to the 170 schools having participated thus far. Also this year, a major research component being carried out by Ed Roeber and Amelia Gotwals, along with three graduate students, was added to the program. The goal of the research component is to be able to examine the impact that the FAME project is having on learning team development and implementation and to follow that with examining how classroom instruction and student learning changes as work in learning teams on formative assessment changes the processes and procedures of the schools’ teams. The longer-term goal is to build a research base on formative assessment in the United States.

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS, formerly known as the Third International Mathematics and Science Study) resulted from the American education community's need for reliable and timely data on the mathematics and science achievement of our students compared to that of students in other countries.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) represents the most extensive investigation of mathematics and science education ever conducted. The study is sponsored by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and funded in the U.S. by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Approximately 50 countries have participated in this comparative survey of education focusing upon nine-year old students, thirteen-year old students, and students in their last year of secondary schools. For the oldest students, TIMSS analyses considered three groups: a cross-section of all students completing their last year of secondary education, i.e., a "literacy" sample; mathematics specialists, i.e., those students studying or having studied calculus; and science specialists, those students studying or having studied physics.

Teachers for a New Era (2002-2007)

The preparation of teachers has long been a key commitment at Michigan State University. In 2002, MSU took another major step forward when it became part of the Carnegie Corporation of New York's groundbreaking reform initiative known as Teachers for a New Era (TNE).


Find a description of the TNE initiative and resources related to it here.



EPFP Applications


The Michigan Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) has been serving Michigan educators and human service professionals since 1975. Affiliated with the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University and the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) in Washington, DC, EPFP is an in-service leadership and policy development program for mid-career professionals who work full-time in education, health and human services, public, private, business and non-profit sector communities. Each Fellow is supported by his/her sponsoring organization and the sponsorship fee of $2,700 includes the registration costs for two national conferences. The application may be downloaded here or from the Michigan EPFP Web site at Click on the EPFP link and go to Memberships & Application. Contact us if you would like an application emailed to you or your candidate.