New grant boosts research on achievement gap

The GSE has been awarded a grant to study data that could help bridge the achievement gap. The Oregon Department of Education will fund the Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Practices project with $128,094 for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Faculty members working on the grant are assistant professors Moti Hara in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy and Esperanza De La Vega in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. The pair is using their previous work with ODE, which included data that identified Oregon schools for making progress in closing the achievement gap.

SEE: Assessing Context at Oregon Schools

While the statewide research for bridging the achievement gap has been ongoing, this project will focus specifically on Portland Public Schools. Added to the quantitative data set will be qualitative data collected via focus groups and interviews at the schools.

SEE: Cultural Responsiveness in PPS

“A qualitative research approach provides us the opportunity to gain insight into what is working well in a particular school,” says Dr. De La Vega. “Through the voices of various participants, we are able to understand the day-to-day contextual practices in culturally and linguistically diverse school settings.”  To date, the ongoing statewide CTAG research project has collected data in the form of 65 interviews and 10 focus group sessions, representing 120 Oregon voices from CTAG schools. The new funding will enable Drs. Hara and De La Vega to double their efforts in data collection and analysis by funding two doctoral student research assistants who will be assigned to the work.

Esperanza De La Vega Moti Hara


Assistant professors Esperanza De La Vega and Moti Hara

SEE: Research & Strategic Partnerships Quarterly Review (page 2)

The grant proposals to ODE were reviewed by a highly diverse committee of 12 individuals, including eight external reviewers with expertise in culturally responsive pedagogy and practice, teacher preparation, and educator professional development. The consensus of the committee was that this proposal provided strong evidence for readiness to move forward and will provide the state with an excellent best practice model for future reference.

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