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The University of Texas at Austin

Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

Available Positions

Research Assistant position

Professor of Public Affairs and Affiliated Professor of Economics (Carolyn Heinrich) seeks to hire a research assistant with solid econometrics and data programming and analysis skills. Experience cleaning, linking and working with large-scale datasets would be very valuable for this position. Strong working knowledge of Stata and/or SAS is essential.

The main duties will include:

  1. Clean, check, link, recode and label administrative data files from school districts involved in the project.
  2. Develop computer programs to perform statistical analyses of data. (There are existing programs from the first two years of the study as a guide).
  3. Write up reports of data analysis results.
  4. Participate in group project meetings.
  5. Document all data steps and programming decisions for project team.
  6. Participate in conference calls with team members and district contacts.

The position will start in August 2011, and if performance is satisfactory, could continue for 7-8 semesters (including summer employment). It will involve 20 hours of work per week and includes tuition and fringe benefits. Additional information about the study and its objectives is included below.

Study Overview

The central objective of this project is to improve student learning and achievement by identifying successful approaches (and the variables that will increase success) in the organization and management of Supplemental Educational Services (SES) programs within school districts and the delivery of SES programs by approved SES providers. The provision of SES is a major federal intervention introduced by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 to improve educational opportunities for children in public schools. Public schools that have not made adequate yearly progress in increasing student academic achievement for at least two consecutive years are required to offer children in low-income families the opportunity to receive extra academic assistance in the form of SES, paid for with funds set aside from Title I. Tutoring offered by SES providers take places outside the regular school day, and states are urged to promote expansive choice in registering nonprofit, for-profit, faith-based, and community organizations and local educational agencies as providers.

The multisite, mixed-method study integrates rigorous quantitative and qualitative methods in addressing the following questions about the implementation and efficacy of SES:

  1. What are school districts doing to maximize participation in SES by students who are eligible and most likely to benefit, and who among the eligible students is participating and receiving adequate levels of tutoring?
  2. What factors influence parent and student choices in selecting (and staying with) SES providers, and how effective (if at all) do they perceive these services to be?
  3. What are the key characteristics of different program models of SES tutoring, as enacted by providers and as regulated by districts and states, and how are they related to SES program impacts?
  4. What is the impact of SES on student achievement in reading and mathematics, and is there a minimum threshold of tutoring hours required to produce effects?
  5. What policy levers and program administration variables are available to state and local educational agencies to use in increasing SES program effectiveness, and what structural and programmatic barriers are currently constraining program effectiveness?

This research is being conducted in five urban school districts (in four states): Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Chicago, Illinois; and Austin and Dallas, Texas.

To apply: send an email with the following materials to cheinrich@austin.utexas.edu (Carolyn Heinrich):