PPRI Awarded THECB Grants for Examining Higher Education

The Public Policy Research Institute (PPRI) at Texas A&M University has been awarded numerous research grants from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) for various evaluations and analyses. Researchers conducting these studies include Drs. Jim Dyer, Robert Capraro, Mary Margaret Capraro, Nandita Chaudhuri, and Trey Marchbanks.

“These studies can provide the roadmap for ensuring Texas residents have access to high quality education and that students are ready for rigorous post-secondary coursework,” said Dr. Dyer. “This will help prepare students for the mantle of leadership in business, industry, and technical fields that will comprise the next generation workforce.”

Adult Basic Education Innovation—Accelerate TEXAS (ATX) Grant Evaluation

2013 – 2016

The ATX programs help prepare unemployed and underprepared adults for the workforce. They integrate relevant and contextualized basic skills content with certification training enabling adult students to gain entry into career pathways for high-demand jobs in industries. PPRI evaluates the effectiveness and impact of these programs.

Evaluation of Integrated Reading & Writing (IRW) Professional Development

2013 – 2016

Integrating reading and writing courses at all levels of developmental education has been a Texas legislative mandate since 2014. To implement this IRW mandate, THECB had to provide professional development to instructors across Texas Institutions. PPRI was contracted to evaluate whether the professional development interventions provided addressed the needs of the institutions and evaluate the impact of the program on instructors and students.

Scaling for Sustainability and Success (S3) Evaluation

2013 – 2016

The S3 grants awarded to 12 Texas community or technical colleges enable institutions to focus on improving DE (developmental education) student success. PPRI serves as the third-party evaluator assessing their comparative effectiveness and developing an evidence base to showcase successful program practices.

Off Campus Work Study in the United States: A Literature Search

December 2015 – March 2016

This literature search provided the background for Project #1 by collecting and collating perspectives on experiential off-campus work study by six leading states. Additionally, it looked at the statutes, policies and guiding principles for off-campus work study in these states from a comparative perspective.

Off Campus Work Study Program Feasibility Study

April 2016 – August 2016

While there has been an increase in funding for the Texas College Work-Study Program by the Texas legislature, what is lacking is the development of a work-study program that supports institutional collaboration with businesses to offer students off-campus, career relevant jobs with the potential to lead to future employment. To achieve this and to partially address SB 947 mandates, this feasibility study will help identify employer and institutional perspectives on what can be done and how to facilitate effective partnerships of the state with businesses and community colleges.

Cross-Program Analysis Project

2011 – 2013

This involved a study of 32 funded programs in Texas higher educational institutions by THECB in determining how these initiatives collectively helped achieve the goals of increasing student success and college readiness in Texas. There were 5 White Papers on different topics that were developed as deliverables from this project.

Developmental Education Demonstration Programs (DEDPs) Evaluation

2010 – 2012

This project examined the effectiveness of nine developmental education demonstration projects at selected Texas higher educational institutions. Based on best practices in the field, the study design utilized both qualitative and quantitative components. The findings from this project report informed the RFA by THECB for project #4 above.

The original two evaluation projects examined the effectiveness of nine developmental education demonstration projects at selected Texas higher education institutions. Based on best practices in the field, the study design utilizd both qualitative (such as focus groups and direct observation) and quantitative methodologies (such as surveys and academic performance). Study findings helped inform the implementation of future Development Education programs in Texas and the results were disseminated through media and high quality peer reviewed publications.

The second project was a cross-program analysis of 32 funded programs in Texas higher education institutions to determine how these initiatives collectively achieved the goals of increasing student success and decreasing the need for developmental education. Determining the individual and cumulative effects of all 32 programs occured through meta-evaluation, meta-analysis, and narrative synthesis methods. This study was intended to further the program goals of the P-16 College Readiness and Success Strategic Action Plan. Study findings were used for developing white papers, policy prescriptions and recommendations for the THECB regarding future steps in Texas college students’ readiness and success.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Jim Dyer at jim@ppri.tamu.edu or Nandita Chaudhuri at NChaudhuri@ppri.tamu.edu.