Graduate School of Education
At the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, we are here for change. We’re here because we believe in the power of education to build communities, bridge barriers, improve lives, and heal society. Here, we convene an ambitious and diverse community of leaders and pioneers, connecting them to one another and to a world that will benefit from their work. We equip them with immersive, real-world-based learning and research opportunities that bring them results. And we mobilize them to fulfill the promise of education in the classrooms, boardrooms, governments, and learning settings where true innovation and real transformation become possible. We offer vibrant array of high-quality master’s and doctoral degree programs.
- Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education
- C-SAIL Publications
- Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE)
- Dissertations (GSE)
- Graduate School of Education Dissertations
- GSE Faculty Research
- GSE Graduate Student Research
- Learning at the Bottom of the Pyramid
- Penn Center for Minority-Serving Institutions
- Penn Child Research Center
PublicationThe Linking Study: An Experiment to Strengthen Teachers' Engagement With Data on Teaching and Learning(2013-04-01) Supovitz, Jonathan AIn this AERA 2013 paper, Dr. Jonathan Supovitz investigates what it means for teachers to fruitfully use data to enhance the teaching and learning process. Informed by research on the challenges teachers face to use data meaningfully, and clues from the rich literature on formative assessment, this paper reports on the design and effects of an intervention designed to help teachers connect data on their teaching with data on the learning of their students for the purpose of informing subsequent instruction which leads to better student outcomes. The hypothesis of this study, therefore, is that while examining data may be useful, the real value of data use is to examine the connection between data points – in this case the instructional choices that teachers make and the learning outcomes of students. Thus, ‘data use’ in this study means encouraging and facilitating teachers’ analytical experiences of linking data on teaching to data on the learning of their students. PublicationAn International Visitors Guide to Understanding University Governing Boards in the United States of America(2019-02-27) Eckel, Peter DThis document describes the structure and forms of governing boards in the United States. It provides an overview of the related higher education context and then describes board structure, composition, leadership, and scope of work. PublicationMaking Sense of a Looking Glass World(2014-05-30) Zemsky, Robert M; Shaman, Susan; Perna, Laura WAs the Walrus in Lewis Carroll's knows, it is the sorting out that matters most. And in colleges and universities, just as in oysters, those of the largest size and most prestige will almost certainly insist on being grouped together, no matter what the consequences. Working with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation we have set for ourselves the task of doing just that—using data drawn from the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to sort American colleges and universities into recognizable clusters that or segments that facilitate the making of comparisons within groups of similar institutions. No less, we seek a set of indices or measures that document the performance of these institutions in terms of access and completions. And to accomplish this latter task, we seek a reasonable means of describing each institution's undergraduate student body along four gauges of diversity: economic, race and ethnicity, age, and geography. PublicationUpdating the Economic Impacts of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program(2005-01-01) Nores, Milagros; Barnett, Steve; Schweinhart, Lawrence; Belfield, Clive RThis paper derives an updated cost-benefit ratio for the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program, an intensive preschool intervention delivered during the 1960s to at-risk children in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Because children were randomly assigned to the program or a control group, differences in outcomes are probably attributable to program status. Data on outcome differences is now available on participants as they reached the age of 40; outcomes include educational attainment, earnings, criminal activity, and welfare receipt. These outcomes are rendered in money terms and compared to the costs of delivering the program to calculate the net present value of the program both for participants and for society. The data shows strong advantages for the treatment group in terms of higher lifetime earnings and lower criminal activity. For the general public, gains in tax revenues, lower expenditures on criminal justice, lower victim costs, and lower welfare payments easily outweigh program costs. At a 3% discount rate the program repays $12.90 for every $1 invested from the perspective of the general public; with a 7% discount rate, the repayment per dollar is $5.67. Returns are even higher if the total benefits – both public and private – are counted. However, there are strong differences by gender: a large proportion of the gains from the program come from lower criminal activity rates by the treatment group, almost all of which is undertaken by the males in the sample. The implications of these findings for public policy on early childhood education are considered. PublicationUsing Resource and Cost Considerations to Support Educational Evaluation: Six Domains(2019-01-01) Belfield, Clive R; Bowden, A BrooksCost, cost-effectiveness, and benefit-cost analysis are methods used by economists to evaluate public policies. Essentially, these methods rely on impact evaluations, that is, research studies of efficacy and effectiveness. However, in most research in education, these cost and impact evaluations are performed separately. This separation creates methodological deficiencies and undermines the contribution of educational research to decision making. In this article, we identify key domains of educational research evaluations that, we believe, would be enhanced if resource and cost analyses were integrated more directly. These domains relate to outcome specification, treatment contrast, implementation fidelity, the role of mediators, power of the test, and meta-analysis. For each domain, we provide a case study example of how these cost analyses can complement and augment current research practices in educational evaluation. More interaction between economists and education researchers would be beneficial for both groups. PublicationGovernment Models for Financing Higher Education in a Global Context: Lessons from the US and UK(2018-09-13) Villarreal, Pedro; Ruby, AlanThis paper reviews common funding approaches/models found in the US and UK as well as the philosophical, political, and economic rationales underpinning their use, and the policy environments that contributed to their adoption in the hope of informing substantive policy discussion, decision-making, and implementation. It finds that different funding approaches/models may be appropriate based on the contextual realities and current circumstances of a country. Thus, incremental approaches might reflect government interests, but may not serve the public good. Enrollment based approaches (per capita and per credit) have advantages and remain viable options for adoption for nations seeking to expand access to higher education. Performance funding options may be appropriate when a robust system of higher education exists, and government seeks performance outcomes as a tool in promoting special projects or government priorities. However, those nations considering performance-based models may need a fair warning. The performance-based approach has yet to be proven to be the panacea it was purported to be, at least in the US and UK. PublicationWhy Governing is So Difficult: A Synthesis of the (Other) Literature(2019-01-03) Eckel, Peter DGoverning boards have a history of underperformance. Yet, most attempted strategies address the recognized problems of inexperienced trustees, infrequent meetings, and trustees’ lack of understanding of higher education. They include steps such as clarifying board roles and responsibilities, better orientations, more information, and restructuring the board. Yet, these commonly advocated strategies yield few consistent results. This paper looks beyond the typical problems and solutions for underlying causes that might make governance difficult. It synthesizes literature from psychology, business, behavioral economics, group behavior, and related areas to develop propositions that help explain board behavior (or misbehavior) to suggest deeper causes of board misbehavior via a set of propositions. These propositions focus on the nature of high-powered groups, overconfidence, group information bias and group processes, all of which constrain board effectiveness. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations for practitioners and for researchers to further address what look like perennial governance problems. PublicationExamining Systems of Student Support(2018-10-01) Bowden, Brooks; Muroga, Atsuko; Wang, Anyi; Shand, Robert; Levin, Henry M. PublicationBuilding District Capacity for System-Wide Instructional Improvement in Jefferson County Public Schools(2013-09-01) Darfler, Anne; Riggan, MatthewThis report summarizes findings from one component of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education’s (CPRE) evaluation of the General Electric Foundation’s (GEF) Developing FuturesTM in Education program in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). The purpose was to closely analyze the district’s capacity to support system-wide instructional improvement. To understand how JCPS, one of the four Developing FuturesTM districts that were examined, built capacity for system-wide instructional improvement, our study focused on a single, overarching question: to what extent has JCPS central office adopted and institutionalized the seven core principles of Developing FuturesTM? PublicationAn Urban Myth? New Evidence of Equity, Adequacy and the Efficiency of Educational Resources(2014-12-01) Steinberg, Matthew; Quinn, RandIn this article, we offer an empirical rejoinder to the oft-told story that large urban districts, like Philadelphia, are inefficient. We situate our study during the very short period in Pennsylvania’s recent history when efforts were dedicated to addressing the inequitable distribution of resources through a fair funding formula and to increasing the amount of resources available for education spending. Even in the presence of a funding formula, school districts like Philadelphia (SDP) with its large percentage of low-income students and English language learners were disproportionately burdened. Unsurprisingly, the SDP, like many districts across the nation, did not receive sufficient resources to educate its students. However, we find that contrary to conventional wisdom, SDP did more per pupil with the resources at its disposal than the average peer district in terms of student poverty and achievement.