Agency Specific Research Agenda

VLDS Burning Question


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+ Virginia Department of Education

Early Childhood

  1. How can Virginia ensure that children and families can access early childhood programs and services to facilitate child health and development, and increase children's school readiness? (ensure access to early childhood programs)

  2. How can Virginia determine whether early childhood program funds are used effectively to maximize return on investment for taxpayers? (determine early childhood program ROI)

  3. How can Virginia improve early childhood program quality to maximize the benefits to children and families? (Improve early childhood program quality)

College and Career Readiness

  1. What is the impact of curriculum, courses, and/or programs on student achievement, high school graduation, postsecondary readiness/success, and workforce outcomes?
  2. What individual and community-level factors predict postsecondary success? What factors and characteristics predict college and career readiness among middle-school students?

Student Outcomes

  1. What factors and interventions are associated with better outcomes (e.g., behavior, achievement, persistence in education) for students?  How do outcomes differ among student subgroups including minority students, LEP students, students with disabilities and students living in poverty?
  2. What is the impact of digital education on student achievement, high school graduation, postsecondary readiness/success?
  3. To what degree does student mobility impact schools and students?  What characteristics are associated with being a high-mobility student?

Access and Equity

  1. What is the impact of access, or lack of access, to technology on student achievement? (may require additional data collection at the local level)
  2. What is the impact of access, or lack of access, to college preparatory courses on postsecondary enrollment and success?  How does access vary by community?

+ State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

  1. What factors impact student transitions from secondary to postsecondary education? A specific area of interest is in students with potential barriers to postsecondary education, such as those receiving a standard diploma, limited English proficient (LEP) students, economically disadvantage, minority race/ethnicity, etc.

  2. What are the impacts of non-completion on student wages and student debt?
  3. How are different populations of students affected by increasing levels of education debt and traditional pathways of education to employment
  4. What are the impacts of dual enrollment on secondary and postsecondary outcomes?

+ Virginia Department of Social Services

  1. How does participation in SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, or Child Care Assistance impact children’s school readiness, school achievement, health, future employment, and wages?

  2. What is the cost/benefit ratio of SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, and Child Care Assistance programs?  Are there patterns that suggest different program delivery models that may yield greater effectiveness or cost savings?
  3. What are the most critical health, safety, and community factors that contribute to children’s school readiness and school achievement?
  4. What factors in the life of a foster care child have the greatest impact on school achievement and later mental, physical, and financial health?
  5. How does investment in early childhood health and education impact the future need for and cost of public assistance?
  6. How many child care providers who participate in Virginia’s Child Care Provider Scholarship Program go on to obtain an associate or bachelor’s degree in early childhood? What factors influence program participant’s completion of these certifications?
  7. What factors contribute to the success of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) recipients after leaving the program? In particular, are those participating in TANF work skills training programs employed and earning a living wage one or two years after completing the program? Which work skills programs have the greatest success rates?

+ Virginia Community College System

We welcome all opportunities to conduct research in the following areas:

  • Post-secondary outcomes

  • Workforce credentials
  • WIOA Title I: understanding and improving the performance of WIOA Title I programs
  • Veterans: transitioning into postsecondary education and civilian occupations
  • Career pathways: education and workforce pathways

VCCS encourages research and reporting which is focused on the workforce system and training provider performance, and making more data be made available through public-facing portals, either in the form of research reports or dashboards.

+ Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services

  1. What are the post-program employment experiences of individuals whose vocational rehabilitation (VR) cases are closed following receipt of substantial services? Specifically, what are their post-VR earnings, and how stably are they employed?  How does their post-VR employment compare with employment before coming to VR?
  2. Similarly, what are the post-program employment experiences of individuals who received services at the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC)?  How does their post-WWRC employment compare with their earlier employment history?
  3. Among individuals who complete WWRC training programs, how many go on to attend/complete community college or other postsecondary education programs, and what credentials do they receive?  Also, what are their post-WWRC employment experiences?
  4. What are the employment experiences of individuals who receive Career Readiness Certificates (CRCs)?  Specifically, what impact does receipt of the CRC have on employment stability and earnings?
  5. Among individuals who receive DARS-funded postsecondary education, how many complete that education, and what educational credentials do they receive?  Also, what are their employment experiences both before and after VR participation?
  6. Among VR clients attending community college (CC), regardless of whether their education is funded by DARS or other sources, how many complete their CC programs?  How many continue their education beyond the CC level, and what kinds of academic credentials do they receive?
  7. How many VR clients receive services from other workforce programs such as the One-Stop Career Centers, also known as American Job Centers, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, and the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC)?  What types of services do they receive, and what are the costs of those services?
  8. What are the employment experiences of VR clients who register with the VEC?  How do they compare with VR clients who do not register with the VEC?
  9. How many transition-age VR clients whose cases are closed because they “can’t be found” have dropped out of school?  What is their post-closure employment and educational status?

+ Virginia Department of Health Professions

  1. For each of Virginia’s healthcare professional education programs, what are the numbers and proportions of graduates that have translated into practitioners providing healthcare services in the state? within specific regions?
  2. Follow-up to the above, are there trends, over time?
  3. What educational and other factors lead students to choose and succeed in health careers? Is Virginia successfully developing a diverse and well-rounded health workforce for the future?
  4. How can we better identify, recruit and serve students who may choose to work in rural, urban and other medically underserved areas of Virginia? Or into shortage fields such as primary care, geriatrics or mental health?
  5. What are the outcomes, in terms of both health and economics, for communities that choose to invest in health professions education, including traditional health professions tracks in colleges and universities and apprenticeship-style diploma and certificate programs?
  6. Do any particular licensure requirements or professional structures create an undue barrier for potential health professions students, particularly those from low-income or other challenging socio-economic backgrounds?

+ Virginia Employment Commission

  1. Will the occupational and industry characteristics of the insured unemployed change in the next 10 years?
  2. What are the social characteristics of participants who successfully complete the trade act programs?
  3. Does the promise of unemployment compensation present a moral hazard in career choices?
  4. What proportion of Virginia workers are likely to receive unemployment insurance benefits during a recessionary period?