Beating the Odds: Studies in Federal Education Research

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Former staffer, now associate professor, Mark A. Partridge, Ph.D. provided Optimal staffers an overview of the findings of the Beating the Odds (BTO) study in Federal Education Research. This study is an analysis of student performance in reading and mathematics on state assessments in big city schools. Dr. Partridge’s presentation focused on the BTO findings from South Carolina charter schools.
The BTO study analyzes student testing performance levels against their predicted level of performance. The predicted level of performance is determined by school demographics using a hierarchical linear model approach. Researchers found that 26%–42% of South Carolina charter schools were performing statistically and significantly better on student achievement outcomes than the predicted performance level.
Dr. Partridge is an assistant professor of Economics at Georgia Gwinnett College and has 10 years of experience in federal education policy research. Dr. Partridge has served as a project director and project manager on projects funded by the Institute of Education Sciences and the National Center for Education Statistics, including the Education Statistics Support Institute Network, Task 15-Assessment Division Support, and the National Center on Service Obligations. He assisted in establishing the National Center on Service Obligations. He devised the data collection procedures, database, website, and verification procedure for program obliges. He also served as a data collection specialist on the Evaluation of Charter School Impacts under a subcontract with Mathematica Policy Research.
Dr. Partridge ended his presentation with a preview of his Economics 101: Principles of Macroeconomics lecture that he will be giving to his class at George Gwinnett College next week.
To learn more about the BTO studies please visit
Optimal Solutions Group, LLC
Founded in 2000, Optimal Solutions Group, LLC, is a nonpartisan public policy research and technical assistance firm that stands out for its quantitative expertise and innovative approaches to provide rigorous, data-driven research and technical assistance to government agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropic foundations. Located at the University of Maryland’s M Square Research Park in College Park, Optimal is a leader in driving real-time public policy research. Optimal has 60+ employees, including multidisciplinary researchers with backgrounds in economics, education, health, housing, sociology, statistics, information management, and entrepreneurship. Optimal has four research centers—Health, Education, Housing and Workforce Development, and Social Policy—as well as an International Practice, Analytics Group, and Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center.

National cyber-security and communications integration center (NCCIC)

Dr. Michael Chipley presented to Optimal staff on his experience and knowledge in the field of cyber security. Dr. Chipley is the current president of the PMC Group, LLC. The PMC Group, LLC, provides consulting and project management to a multitude of government and private agencies including the Department of Defense, Defense Health Agency, and Optimal Solutions Group, LLC.
Dr. Chipley’s presentation illuminated the intricacies of cyber security protocol at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCI) and at the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT). Dr. Chipley provided an overview of the programs and protocols of these agencies and shed light on the crucial coordination between private and public institutions.
The specific topics of focus included:
• Hierarchal organizations of agencies
• Reporting tools and procedures
• Incident notification guidelines
• Alerts and advisories given by the ICS-CERT
• Assessing cybersecurity risks
• Workshops and trainings
Dr. Chipley has more than 33 years of experience consulting in a variety of fields with experience in cybersecurity, environmental and sustainable design, infrastructure, and emergency management and disaster recovery. View Dr. Chipley’s full presentation. 

Dr. Muhiuddin Haider and Ms. Hoda Sana to present on “Neonatal Health Issues in South Asia”

University of Maryland’s School of Public Health, Associate Professor in Global Health, Dr. Muhiuddin Haider and doctoral student Ms. Hoda Sana will discuss South Asian neonatal healthcare and neonatal healthcare improvement on Friday, December 9, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. at Optimal Solutions Group’s, LLC (Optimal’s) office in M Square Research Park in College Park, Maryland. Dr. Haider and Ms. Sana’s discussion is part of Optimal’s on-going Brown Bag lunch series. » Read more

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