The Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) at the University of Chicago conducts research of high technical quality that can inform and assess policy and practice in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). We seek to expand communication among researchers, policymakers, and practitioners as we support the search for solutions to the problems of school reform. CCSR encourages the use of research in policy action and improvement of practice, but does not argue for particular policies or programs. Rather, we try to build capacity for school reform by identifying what matters for student success and school improvement, creating critical indicators to chart progress, and conducting theory-driven evaluation to identify how programs and policies are working.
Our goal for 2010-2014 is to pursue a research agenda that is useful to CPS leadership and schools for improving student achievement, while contributing to national discussions on school reform. We have identified several areas of work to emphasize in our current research agenda: (1) rigor and readiness in high schools, (2) middle grades and the transition to high school, (3) human capital and professional capacity, and (4) schools as organizations. While most of our current and proposed work is in these four areas, we also are conducting a number of studies on specific issues that have been identified as important to key constituents in the Chicago educational community. CCSR is also actively working with schools, network chiefs, and other school personnel in Chicago to help them use data productively. The following describes studies that have been completed since 2010, continuing work that builds on those studies, and areas of potential new work that have been discussed.