Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Researchers Potentially Skew Vote

Researchers from Dartmouth College and Stanford University crafted official-looking flyers with information about an upcoming election in various states including Montana and sent them to thousands of constituents with the intent of studying the effect of the flyers on the voters. The flyer described two candidates in an upcoming Supreme Court race according to the candidates' political bias even though the candidates were nonpartisan. The flyer had an official state seal and looked like an official voting document; in small print the flyer states that its purpose is for research. Official complaints against the researchers have been filed and they potentially face significant fines if the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices pursues the complaints. Lise Dobrin, a member of UVA's IRB-SBS, commented regarding the ethical implication of the research in Dylan Scott's TPM article.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Darden/Curry Partnership

While poverty and lack of educational resources are certainly factors in poor student performance, mismanaged districts and poor leadership also impact a student's ability to learn and achieve. The University of Virginia Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education (PLE)'s mission is to restructure the way that education is managed by the state and by the district so that students have better access to talented teachers and improved resources. The program uses a four-lever model to help school districts improve school performance. It addresses improvement in the following areas: organizational leadership, talent management, support and accountability, and data-driven instruction. As recently reported in this article, the PLE worked with districts in Oklahoma and Louisiana and the participating districts saw significant gains in student performance.