Education Research


The Education Alliance is dedicated to ensuring parents, community members and civic leaders have easy access to educational research. We hope these resource links will help you in quest to be well-informed about the educational issues in West Virginia schools.



SEEDS Helps Principals Succeed

“Simply put, SEEDS is about relationships and resources for school principals. Our premise starts with the belief that well-supported administrators can effect real change at their schools. With SEEDS, principals receive funding of up to $50,000 for a school initiative, along with expert guidance from an educational consultant and a successful business CEO. Together, they develop and execute an innovative plan to facilitate student achievement.”

Quality Counts 2012 Highlights Report

“In the Quality Counts 2012 Highlights Reports Education Week ranks the 50 states based on six graded categories. Overall, West Virginia was ranked 9th in the nation receiving a B-. With a score of F (49th in the nation), West Virginia needs to address K-12 achievement to be nationally competitive. West Virginia – State Highlights 2012 captures all of the data you need to assess the state's performance in key areas. The information is presented in a series of charts and graphs, and includes comparisons to national averages. You won't want to miss this data, so download your copy now. ”

Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia’s Primary and Secondary Education System

“In 2010, the State of West Virginia initiated a comprehensive review of its primary and secondary education system, which it called “Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia’s Primary and Secondary Education System.” While the word “audit” is used to describe this initiative, the review was not intended as an audit in the strictest meaning of the term. Rather, an “efficiency audit” uses an array of techniques to identify issues, research possible solutions, determine best practices, and develop recommendations – all activities designed to identify opportunities for savings, eliminate duplication, and to work smarter. This review was intended to help the state achieve two goals: 1. Producing the best possible outcomes for its students. 2. Receiving the highest return on the educational dollars it spends. Compared to its sister states, West Virginia has recently scored very well in its expenditures on an income and per-pupil expenditure basis. The state ranks 8th in education expenditures relative to income, even adjusting for anomalies in its current spending levels (which include an annual average of $333,575,000 for pay-down of the unfunded liability of the Teachers' Retirement System, which does not constitute spending on students in the public schools: The state nevertheless ranks 7th, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in salaries exclusive of benefit payments, relative to the state’s income levels, and when total spending is adjusted to exclude the pay-down of the unfunded pension liability, the state still ranks 32nd nationally, ahead of such states as Massachusetts, California, and Virginia).1 In sum, West Virginia, unlike most similarly poor states, cannot be said to stint on education spending. Unfortunately, this considerable commitment of funds has not equated to a high level of achievement: West Virginia students score below the national average on 21 of the 24 indicators of student performance as reported by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.2 This was the impetus for the state to launch this “Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia’s Primary and Secondary Education System.” In initiating its review of the State’s education system, the State of West Virginia asserted: These statistics suggest that the state of West Virginia is getting a poor return on its investment in primary and secondary education, a total of $3.5 billion in FY2010. For that reason . . . this audit is to locate redundancies and duplication of effort, identify areas where economies of scale can be created, and develop recommendations for ideal ratios for educational, administrative, and other expenses for West Virginia school districts. In May 2011, the West Virginia Governor’s Office retained Public Works and its partner firm, MGT of America, to conduct this review. This resulting report seeks to identify (1) savings and efficiencies, and (2) service-delivery improvements that can be instituted to make the best use of West Virginia’s educational spending and to increase student achievement.”

Student Retention and Dropout Prevention

“Policy Recommendations and Best Practices”

Alternative Certification: Policy Recommendations and Best Practices

“In West Virginia and nationally, the need to place highly qualified teachers in the classroom is not only a charged political issue but an important public policy debate. To meet increasing demand for classroom teachers, especially in math and science, states have enacted alternate certification programs for educated individuals who did not complete a traditional teaching preparation program but who have answered the call to enter the classroom. In recent years, The Education Alliance has taken an active role in effecting change in public education by supplying research and recommendations to advocacy groups, parents, business leaders, teachers, legislators and school administrators. This research summary supplies needed input to stakeholders, outlines policy action and highlights best practices for alternative certification routes for recruiting new teachers.”

Middle Childhood Education: Policy Implications and Best Practices

“This piece is a compilation of the field's most relevant research related to the standards-based reform and reinvention of middle level education in the United States. Middle Childhood Education findings support the importance of an academically rigorous curriculum focused on higher order thinking and problem solving skills in an effort to make middle grades students more successful in high school, college and the 21st century workplace. It also offers strategies for improving professional development, educator preparation and the organizational structure of the middle grades.”

Positive Youth Development: Policy Implications and Best Practices

“This piece is a compilation of the field’s most relevant research related to the environmental challenges and risks faced by youth. It offers strategies for facilitating constructive youth programming and youth-related policies. Positive Youth Development findings also support the importance of positive development with a focus on growth rather than remediation and community-based development directed at increasing a community’s capacity to provide such programs.”

Early Childhood Education: Policy Implications

“In recent years, the intersection of two significant developments has dramatically changed the national context for raising children, providing related services and the development of early education policy. ”

Gender Differences in Reading Achievement

“This piece is a compilation of the field’s most relevant research related to the learning differences between boys and girls. It addresses the psychological strengths and challenges of males and females and what we, as advocates, can do to better understand different learning styles and utilize different instructional strategies to best serve our students’ needs. Gender Differences discusses such ideas as single-sex classrooms and varied reading opportunities for boys.”

The West Virginia Civic Index Report

“The West Virginia Civic Index Report - Wednesday, October 4, 2006 - Embassy Suites Hotel - Charleston, West Virginia - The Release of the First State Civic Index on Quality Public Education in the Nation!”

Through Different Lenses: West Virginia School Staff and Students React to School Climate

“The Education Alliance issued two major recommendations in conjunction with a research report released today, entitled “Through Different Lenses: West Virginia School Staff and Students React to School Climate.” The recommendations include placing greater focus on equity amongst students as part of future school reform efforts, and investigating the characteristics of schools that generate positive student experiences in order to replicate practices within lower-performing West Virginia schools. ”

Closing the Achievement Gap: Best Practices in Teaching Mathematics

“Recent national test results provide continuing documentation of the need to increase the focus on improving student achievement in mathematics. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) recently released the 2005 math scores, which reflected student achievement in the areas of measurement, geometry, data analysis, probability and algebra. Nationally, only 30% of eighth graders were deemed proficient. Although this reflected an increase from previous assessments, only 69% of the eighth graders nationally demonstrated a basic skills level on the NAEP assessment (Olson, 2005). ”

Providing High-Quality Teachers for Low-Performing and At-Risk Schools

“The impact of a highly qualified, caring teacher in every classroom has become the focal point of the continuing evolution and implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The emerging research, coupled with the legislative mandate, has made providing a highly qualified and caring teacher in each classroom a national, state and local imperative”

Integrating Technology in the K-12 Classroom

“West Virginia has been a leader in providing computers in the classroom and recognizing that computers can provide specialized tutoring, create group learning environments and provide enriched learning experiences for students. A survey of over 1,300 high school teachers, conducted by The Education Alliance in 2004, revealed that over 72% of the teachers felt they had adequate technology resources.”

Middle School Student Voice

“What actions can West Virginia’s middle schools take to raise student achievement and close the achievement gap between middle-class white students and African-American and economically disadvantaged white students? The Education Alliance today released the results of a study earlier this year that sought the answer from the perspective of middle-school students themselves. Eighth-graders in two urban middle schools and a rural middle school made up 18 guided focus groups whose conversations were compiled to provide recommendations for professional development, school-community dialogue and engagement and policy changes.”

Recommendations from the Teacher Quality Initiative

“In 2002, West Virginia became one of five national sites to take part in the Teaching Quality Initiative, which emphasized the need for communities to take responsibility for the quality of teaching in their local school systems. The Education Alliance, West Virginia’s statewide education fund, managed the project with assistance from local organizations such as the Family Resource Networks and Economic Development Authorities.”