Infrastructure, Implementation, and Evaluation: State Agency Buzzwords
This week, I met Peter Asmar, Chief Information Officer for the Department of Public Instruction. Mr. Asmar leads the Technology Services area (which includes NC WISE and SIMS), instructional technology, student information and accountability systems, and the IT Program Management office. He also brings a wealth of instructional technology and finance knowledge from twenty-five years in the private sector and his work with Fortune 100 companies. My research team spoke with Mr. Asmar about providing the technological infrastructure to support DPI’s educational initiatives, particularly in rural areas. The conversation then took a turn to unfamiliar territory, as Peter discussed bandwidth and other concepts and my brain struggled to keep pace. Needless to say, DPI’s technological needs appear to be in good hands.
I also met Angela Quick, the Deputy Chief Academic Officer of DPI. She asked our research team about the various projects we are working on this summer, and also expressed her thoughts regarding our study of North Carolina Virtual Public Schools. Ms. Quick is particularly interested in NCVPS and is curious as to whether the program increases female high schools students’ access to STEM courses, especially Advanced Placement science and math courses. This question is one our team is confident we can answer easily, and we are all excited to discover NCVPS’s role in promoting exposure to math and the sciences, especially for high school girls.
In addition to NCVPS research, I am also writing a draft report on a recent teacher effectiveness study. As mentioned in last week’s post, this report started as a smaller project, but since then has evolved into an effort that may lead to a presentation in the coming weeks of my internship. The teacher effectiveness study includes principals’ ratings of teachers across North Carolina, and the researchers on this study grouped the responses by characteristics of the school. Schools were grouped into several categories: by AYP status, expected growth status, expected high growth status, and school enrollment size (grouped by quartiles). The study also compares ratings of male versus female teachers, probationary versus career teachers, elementary versus secondary teachers, and teachers designated as developing, proficient, accomplished, and distinguished teachers. The rating trends have led to some unexpected interpretations, and I am currently conducting a literature review to determine whether my observations on patterns have any historical grounding in teacher evaluation research.
Next week, I’ll have the preliminary draft completed and will report back with some findings!