OVAE Connection -- April 7, 2011
Archived Information

NRCCTE-OVAE Spring 2011 Colloquium

The National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE) has extended a general invitation to the NRCCTE-OVAE Spring 2011 Colloquium in Washington, D. C. The colloquium will be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill on April 26, 2011, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. To register, please click here.

During this event, NRCCTE researchers and partners, along with members of its advisory panel and representatives of national organizations, will meet with officials and project liaisons from the U.S. Department of Education, and members of the general public. They will discuss current issues in CTE research and findings from the center's ongoing research, professional development, technical assistance and dissemination projects. The colloquium will include remarks by OVAE Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier and center Director James R. Stone III. Most of the day will be devoted to a series of 50-minute roundtables with the principal investigators of the center's projects. At lunch, Stone and a panel of researchers will host a discussion on the most recent findings from current research related to Programs of Study.

A document containing the draft agenda, roundtable schedule and hotel floor plan is available for download as a PDF document. Questions about the colloquium or the center's other activities can be posed through

Institute for Educational Sciences Announces Competition for National Research and Development Center on Cognition and Adult Literacy

The Institute for Educational Sciences (IES) supports national research and development centers (R&D Centers) intended to contribute significantly to the solution of education problems in the United States. The centers' research, development, evaluation, and national leadership activities are aimed at improving the education system and student achievement. In light of the need to provide effective and efficient training in basic literacy and numeracy skills for substantial numbers of adults in the United States, the institute is establishing a National Research and Development Center on Cognition and Adult Literacy. A competition for this center was recently announced. Prospective applicants must submit a letter of intent by July 21, 2011, the same day the application package will be made available. Applications are due September 22, 2011.

The Request for Applications for this and other competitions is available at

MDRC Synthesis Report of Findings From Evaluation at Six Community Colleges

Holding a postsecondary credential leads to expanded career opportunities, better wages, and more options for the students who obtain one. Community colleges, with their open access policies and low tuition, are a vital pathway to postsecondary education for almost half of all U.S. undergraduates. Yet, only one-third of all students who enter community colleges with the intent to earn a degree or certificate actually meet this goal within six years of enrollment. Reasons for the low rate of completion among students include: entering community college under-prepared for college-level work; facing competing priorities outside of school, such as work obligations; and lacking adequate financial resources to fund their educations. These factors contribute to the unacceptably low persistence and completion rates.

In response to these issues, MDRC developed the Opening Doors Demonstration in 2003 — the first large-scale random assignment study in a community college setting. In partnership with six community colleges, MDRC helped develop and evaluate programs based on financial incentives, reforms in instructional practices, and enhancements in student services. Colleges were encouraged to focus on one strategy and to combine elements of the others to design programs that would help students both perform well academically and persist toward degree completion. The findings, in fact, spurred some of the colleges to scale up their programs, leading to additional large-scale demonstrations to test some of the most promising strategies. Opening Doors provides some of the first rigorous evidence that a range of interventions can improve educational outcomes for community college students. The findings showed that more work must be done to determine if the early effects can last and to test even bolder reforms. To learn more about this demonstration project, visit the policy brief which describes the different strategies tested, discusses what has been learned from Opening Doors, and offers suggestions to policymakers and practitioners for their use.

Federal Grant Opportunity

The Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities–Paraprofessional Preservice Program Improvement Grants (CFDA No. 84.325N) was published in the Federal Register on Friday, March 11, 2011. These grants will provide support to institutions of higher education, including community colleges, to improve their special education paraprofessional preparation programs. As a result of these improvements, graduates of the paraprofessional programs will be equipped with skills and knowledge to provide support to early interventionists and special educators in the use of evidence-based practices for infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities and to meet the paraprofessional qualifications of ESEA. The deadline for application submissions is April 25, 2011.

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Last Modified: 08/15/2013