Policy

The Research Group provides policy research for numerous educational agencies and nonprofit foundations. Our focus is on science education, yet it 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 that run the gamut from medium– or large-scale surveys to deep ethnography.

Services

Policy Studies

As a unit of the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley, the Research Group possesses the resources and the capacity to study, analyze, and evaluate education policy for local, state, and national governments, as well as for nongovernmental organizations. We can assist agencies and funding organizations alike as they strive to 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, to support their making well-informed decisions. We accomplish these aims by conducting research across a variety of settings and by 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 amassed expertise and experience in many fields of education policy, including informal science education, professional development projects in science and technology, youth development policy, and policies surrounding equal access to high-quality and higher levels of education. We employ a diverse set of veteran policy researchers, who bring to the group new ways of thinking about policy and implementation.

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 diverse conditions 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 underrepresented 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 typically encounter on their way to potentially becoming scientists.
  • Projects that examine the barriers that many teachers face when endeavoring to integrate science with literacy or English Language Development strategies, plus projects that identify which structures and supports will best 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.

Get In Touch

Have questions about our work? We’d love to speak to you.