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The Research Group

Policy Study Services

The Research Group provides policy research for educational agencies and non-profit foundations. Our focus is on science education but encompasses all elements of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. We take a participatory approach to education policy research, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. We have conducted studies ranging in design from exploratory to experimental, and using data collection approaches from large-scale surveys to deep ethnography.

As part of the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley, the Research Group has the resources and capacity to study, analyze, and evaluate education policy for local, state, and national governments, as well as for non-governmental organizations. We can help agencies and funding organizations articulate policies, evaluate a portfolio of programs, and understand how the policies they set influence practice on the ground.

Approach

We provide nonpartisan information, research, and evaluation on education policy related issues to policymakers and other education stakeholders that supports the making of well-informed decisions. We accomplish these aims by conducting research across a variety of settings and providing evaluation expertise and services to diverse agencies, organizations, and funding agencies. We share important findings through dissemination strategies tailored to the needs of specific audiences and project goals.

Expertise

Our policy studies team has expertise and experience in many different fields of education policy, including informal science education, professional development in science and technology, youth development policy, and policies surrounding equal access to high-quality and higher education. We employ a diverse set of policy researchers, who bring new ways of thinking about policy and implementation to the Group.

Our Current Projects

Policy studies is a new and rapidly growing field for the Research Group. Among our recent and current projects:

  • A large-scale research project looking into the condition of science education in California elementary and middle schools. This project focuses on the policies and structures leading to those conditions, particularly the role of statewide and federal accountability systems.
  • Evaluations of multiple support programs designed to encourage students from under-represented groups to enroll and remain in higher education programs in the life sciences.
  • As part of the Science Learning Activation Lab, a retrospective study looking at the barriers and supports that youth encounter on their way to becoming scientists.
  • Projects that examine the barriers teachers face integrating science with literacy or English Language Development strategies, and what structures and supports help them provide high-quality integration for their students.

Funding

Our policy studies work is funded by multiple sources including federal grants and private foundations.