As part of its recently revamped education agenda, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last week rolled out $22 million in grants to build and strengthen student-data systems at the high school and postsecondary levels and to support new research on teacher effectiveness.
The largest grant—$7.3 million over four years to the Princeton, N.J.-based Educational Testing Service—will back research to help inform the development of “robust teaching-evaluation systems,” the Seattle-based foundation said in a Jan. 22 press release.
Another grant will provide $2.9 million to the Herndon, Va.-based National Student Clearinghouse over two years to devise a national research and data system that will offer participating high schools in all 50 states access to “reliable information” on their graduates’ college access and success rates.
“Useful data and solid research about what works will help empower teachers, schools, and districts to more effectively keep students on the path to success in college and beyond,” Vicki L. Phillips, the director of the philanthropy’s education division, said in the press release.
In November, the Gates Foundation unveiled a new high school grantmaking strategy focused on three priorities: identifying and promoting higher standards for college readiness, improving teacher quality, and fostering innovations to aid struggling students. It also announced a new effort to double college-completion rates for low-income students. (“Strategy Retooled at Gates,” Nov. 19, 2008.)
In all, Gates announced 10 grants on Jan. 22 for the data-gathering and research efforts.
The research grant to the ETS will launch work to evaluate measures now in use to assess teaching effectiveness. Gates will also provide $579,000 over two years to the Iowa City, Iowa-based ACT Inc. to explore the relationship between teacher characteristics and student learning outcomes.
The foundation issued a range of grants on data collection, including national endeavors and $8 million for projects in Texas.
Education Week receives funding from the Gates Foundation for the newspaper’s annual Diplomas Count report.
A version of this article appeared in the January 28, 2009 edition of Education Week as Gates Gives Grants for Data Systems, Teacher Studies