The Center on Education Policy (CEP) at The George Washington University recently released reports about student motivation, the implementation of the federal School Improvement Grants program, and the impact of federal education stimulus funds (specifically ARRA and Education Jobs programs). All of their reports can be downloaded from the CEP website free-of-charge.
CEP’s series of papers examining student academic motivation, along with the summary report, review research findings on student motivation, provide examples of current programs and policies, and discuss implications for the future. The six papers offer an in-depth look at specific themes surrounding student engagement, including why motivation is important and how it might be defined and measured; whether rewarding students can result in higher motivation; whether students can be motivated by goal-setting; the role of parental involvement, family background, and culture; strategies schools might use to motivate students; and nontraditional approaches to motivating otherwise unenthusiastic students. An appendix outlines four major dimensions of motivation and how they are defined by the leading theorists in the field.
School Improvement Grants
CEP’s analysis of the impact of federal School Improvement Grants is divided into three special reports:
1. The first special report, Schools with Federal Improvement Grants Face Challenges in Replacing Principals and Teachers, looks at how states, districts, and schools are addressing challenges related to SIG staffing requirements.
2. The second special report, Increased Learning Time Under Stimulus-Funded School Improvement Grants: High Hopes, Varied Implementation, highlights key findings about state, district, and school experiences related to the requirement to increase student learning time in SIG-funded schools.
3. The third special report, Changing the School Climate is the First Step to Reform in Many Schools with Federal Improvement Grants, examines the positive changes in school climate experienced by six case study schools that received the federal grants in Idaho, Maryland, and Michigan.
The reports’ findings draw on survey data from 46 responding states (including D.C.) and case study research in Idaho, Maryland, and Michigan, published by CEP in March of 2012. Data for these reports were collected in the fall and winter of 2011-12, a critical midpoint for implementing three-year SIG awards funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Impact of Stimulus Funds
CEP’s report on the impact of federal stimulus funds on K-12 education is entitled What Impact Did Education Stimulus Funds Have on States and School Districts? The report synthesizes findings from six previous CEP reports examining the effects of the funding. Those reports were based on survey responses of state and local officials charged with implementing the ARRA and Education Jobs programs. Taking a retrospective look over three years of survey data, this report distills themes and draws conclusions about the overall effects of ARRA on K-12 education.
The Center on Education Policy is a national, independent advocate for public education and for more effective public schools. Visit their website to view all of CEP’s recent publications.