Leading education research association honors state education department, URI for data publication

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KINGSTON, R.I. – April 7, 2007 — The American Educational Research Association, the largest organization of educational researchers in the country, awarded Information Works! Measuring Rhode Island Schools for Change 2007 with an Outstanding Publication award.

Information Works!, now in its 10th year, is published annually through the collaboration of the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the National Center on Public Education and Social Policy at the University of Rhode Island.

After an intensive peer review competition, the association’s Division H: School Evaluation and Program Development, recognized Rhode Island’s state report card system and website at its annual meeting March 27 in New York City. According to the School Evaluation and Program Development division, “The purpose of the competition is to recognize, honor, and share exceptional work that increases our understanding and contributes to the practice of applied research, evaluation, assessment, and accountability in our nation’s school systems.” Information Works! 2007 was one of only two websites honored with this award.

Information Works! consists of three sections: a) a set of school report cards, b) a set of district report cards, and c) the state report card. Each school and district report card contains charts, graphs and tables on student achievement and demographics and information on suspensions, attendance rates, graduation rates, teacher grievances, parental involvement, financial data on school spending, and much more. The state report card contains information for the state as a whole on student achievement on state and national assessments, school climate, attendance and graduation rates, parental involvement, suspensions and teacher grievances, teacher qualifications, and financial data on tax capacity and on school spending.

The report also includes tables that show each school’s school-performance classification and tables that compare the performance of the students in each school with the performance of similar students statewide.

The team of contributors from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education includes Commissioner Peter McWalters, Elliot Krieger, and Ken Gu. The team at URI’s National Center on Public Education and Social Policy includes Robert Felner, Anne Seitsinger, Nina Kajiji, Liang Quan, and Stephen Brand, as well as Amy Burns, Linda Hurditch, Laurie Kellogg, and Julia Steiny.

“We are honored that the American Educational Research Association has given an Outstanding Publication award to our annual state report, Information Works!,” said Commissioner McWalters. “I have long believed that a well-informed public is vital to the process of school improvement. Along with our partners at NCPE, we have invested a great deal of time and expertise in our effort to bring clear, accurate, and timely information to the public through our Information Works! reports. I am proud of this publication, and I’m pleased that its excellence has been recognized.”

“We are pleased and extremely proud to have this comprehensive data analysis system and website, which aid Rhode Island schools and districts in their school improvement efforts, recognized by AERA’s Division H,” said Seitsinger, an associate professor of education at URI.

Information Works! may be viewed at www.inforworks.ride.uri.edu.

For further information about this award, contact Seitsinger at anneseitsinger@uri.edu.