CRE researchers are involved in multiple projects using the state longitudinal data system in order to address various education-policy questions.
One line of research involves studying student mobility over time. Student mobility has a profound impact on education systems, but the nature and extent of this impact is poorly understood. While there exists anecdotal beliefs that families of children requiring specialized services may relocate to districts providing such services, the degree to which this happens and the nature of such relocations on shifting service needs is not well-documented. Such information would be extremely valuable to school and state officials when planning services and education policies. Similarly, while some schools experience particularly high levels of student mobility, the impact of mobility on student academic growth and performance in Maine is unclear. Such information would be valuable in understanding student growth over time, as well as in understanding school-to-school variability in overall growth patterns. However, to address these questions one must be able to track individual students over time and across district boundaries. The state longitudinal data system therefore provides the unique infrastructure necessary for examining student mobility issues.
A second line of research involves developing and testing competing growth models using statewide data. A variety of potential models, based on continuous scores and categorical criteria (meets/exceeds expectations, etc.) will be considered. This work will identify possible general models that might serve as the basis for further studies examining student academic performance over time, as well as examine possible challenges to using and interpreting growth models in Maine schools (e.g., small school size).