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Florida State University awarded $38 million to help spur public education improvements

Flexing its considerable research muscle, the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) at Florida State University has won a $38.6 million contract to help six Southeastern states and their schools put the test results, coursework information, graduation statistics and other education-related data they collect to more effective use in helping students find academic success.

The five-year award, funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, makes FCRR the lead for the region in connecting education stakeholders to student data in more meaningful and positive ways.

“Winning this sizeable contract clearly showcases the talent we have at Florida State and reinforces our position as a focal point for education research in the nation,” said Florida State President Eric J. Barron. “Through the award, the Florida Center for Reading Research will help others understand the power of the information available to them and how it can be used to improve their schools, ultimately putting our region on a path to greater student achievement in the years ahead.”

The contract will support FCRR and its research partners with operating the Regional Educational Laboratory for the Southeast Region (REL-SE), serving Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. Regional laboratories conduct applied research and evaluation, provide technical assistance, develop digital educational materials and other products, and disseminate information in an effort to help others use knowledge from research and practice to improve education.

“Strip away all the acronyms and complex language and you find that this effort is about answering one basic question: How do we use the myriad of information we collect to make measureable improvements to our education systems?” said Barbara Foorman, director and principal investigator for the REL-SE and director of FCRR. “With this contract, we have gained the resources we need to tackle that question and help our local education stakeholders find new success in improving student learning.”

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Foorman, who is also Florida State’s Francis Eppes Professor of Education, added that FCRR partnered with RMC Research, SEDL and the Instructional Research Group (IRG) to create the winning proposal.

The heart of the project will focus on four main priority areas, identified through extensive outreach to a broad array of education stakeholders throughout the Southeast:

· Improving low-performing schools.
· Scaling up the implementation of more rigorous standards, particularly in mathematics.
· Determining charter school effectiveness and improving their performance.
· Improving adolescent literacy.

About FCRR:
The Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) is the nation’s premier research organization devoted to literacy. The center’s faculty boasts the broadest and deepest collection of reading experts in the world. Established in 2002 by the Florida Legislature, FCRR is jointly administered at Florida State University by the FSU Learning Systems Institute and the College of Arts and Sciences.