Rather than being detached researchers, Dr. Dickenson and her team have worked with us each step; have confidently challenged us; and have been able to help the Department and our constituents use the information we have learned to improve education in South Carolina’s K-12 programs.
Deputy Superintendent of Innovation and Effectiveness, South Carolina Department of Education
REM’s staff is enthusiastic and eager to help, willing to listen, active in brainstorming, and concise in reporting. They create customer experiences that show their expertise in research, evaluation, and measurement and are able to create reports that show findings in a format that is easy to understand.
Programs and Partnerships Manager, Richland Library
Our partnership areas include:
The REM Center has partnered with South Carolina’s arts education community since 2000 in the areas of research, evaluation, and measurement. We have collaborated with the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project at Winthrop University to conduct research and evaluation work on arts education in South Carolina schools. With funding from the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and the support of the arts education community, the REM Center developed and continues to operate the South Carolina Arts Assessment Program (SCAAP). Funded through the SCDE’s Distinguished Arts Program grants, SCAAP provides standards-aligned, high-quality classroom assessment resources for arts educators in South Carolina. SCAAP forms collaborative groups of South Carolina arts educators to develop classroom assessments and rubrics which are pilot-tested in classrooms across the state. Materials and rubric-scored student samples are shared on the SCAAP website to build the capacity of arts teachers to engage in high-quality performance assessment practices to inform classroom instruction.
The REM Center conducts a variety of work aimed to improve the development and education of young children. We are leading a state-wide needs assessment for South Carolina’s Preschool Development Grant funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the South Carolina Department of Social Services, South Carolina First Steps, and other South Carolina colleges and universities, to better understand the needs and priorities of young children and their families. This work includes surveys, focus groups, and work group meetings designed to develop goals and actional steps to improve conditions and services for South Carolina children and families. Our team also provides evaluation and research services for quality rating and improvement system initiatives designed to measure and communicate the quality of childcare centers. Our current work in this area is a research partnership with the statewide ABC Quality program through the South Carolina Department of Social Services
The REM Center has increasingly established evaluation partnerships with projects that include a focus on engaging families in PK-12 schools. Currently, the REM Center team is evaluating a $5 million, 5-year, U.S. Department of Education State Family Engagement Centers grant. The Carolina Family Engagement Center was awarded to a team in the College of Education at the University of South Carolina and is coordinated by the South Carolina School Improvement Council. The Carolina Family Engagement Center is developing a state-wide collaborative network of family engagement organizations to increase communication and coordination, increase dissemination of information and resources to families and educators, and strengthen the infrastructure and capacity of South Carolina to serve all families through evidence-based family engagement practices. The REM Center serves as the project’s external evaluator on this project and is collecting a wide range of data including implementation rubrics, meeting notes, surveys, focus groups, and interviews.
The REM Center works with school districts and the South Carolina Department of Education on grant projects designed to transform historically low performing schools into thriving schools where students are prepared for college and careers. This is accomplished by implementing innovative programs and practices that have been shown to improve student outcomes. Our current work in school reform includes the evaluation of schools receiving funding from the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program through the South Carolina Department of Education. We also conduct evaluations of magnet and charter school programs. We currently serve as co-evaluators with staff from the SC Educational Policy Center to evaluate three Magnet School Assistance Program grants from the U.S. Department of Education awarded to Florence School District 3, School District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties, and Richland School District 2.
The REM Center has established a long-term partnership with the Office of Special Education Services (OSES) at the South Carolina Department of Education. We have served as evaluation and research partner on multiple large scale grant projects designed to increase inclusive practices and improve outcomes for students with disabilities. Our most recent work with OSES serves to evaluate multiple components of their new results driven accountability model that involves all South Carolina school districts. These projects include South Carolina's State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP), which involves a comprehensive plan to improve reading achievement for students with disabilities by grade 3, and the Targeted Educational Allocations for Children (TEACH) plan, which is providing funding at two levels to support school districts in the implementation of programming aimed to improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities.
The REM Center has worked closely with University of South Carolina science education faculty to evaluate a wide variety of professional development and higher education programs for math and science teachers. Currently, we evaluate two programs awarded to USC funded through the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Scholars program. These programs seek to increase the number of highly qualified science and mathematics teachers and teacher-leaders working in high-need, rural districts in South Carolina. The REM Center also has partnered with USC faculty to serve as evaluator on multiple science teacher professional development programs funded through the US Department of Education’s Math Science Partnership program.
In addition to formal STEM education programs, the REM Center currently serves as the evaluator on the STEM Teens project, an NSF and Wellcome Trust -funded research project examining STEM engagement outcomes for youth educators and visitors with whom they interact in five informal STEM learning sites across the United Kingdom and the United States. We partner with the research team at North Carolina State University, the University of London, and Cambridge University to document progress toward study goals and to collect and analyze information about volunteer training programs at all five informal learning sites.
The REM Center partners closely with several entities inside The University of South Carolina’s College of Education to provide research and evaluation services for projects related to the recruitment and retention of the teaching work force. Our team has served as the evaluator of the Carolina Teacher Induction Program (CarolinaTIP) from the program’s inception and has worked closely with the program as it has moved from exploratory to pilot to implementation phases of program development. This program aims to support graduates of USC’s teaching education programs in their first three years in the classroom to improve teacher retention.
The REM Center also provides evaluation services for teacher recruitment programs. We provide evaluation support for the Apple Core Initiative, a USC College of Education initiative aimed at recruiting pre-service teachers from groups that are underrepresented in the teaching field in South Carolina and subsequently providing scholarships and mentoring to ensure they are able to eventually enter the teaching profession. We have worked with the Apple Core Initiative team on logic modeling, evaluation planning, and data collection. The REM Center is also serving as the evaluator for the Carolina Transition to Teaching Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, that seeks to recruit, prepare, and retain teachers in rural South Carolina school districts through an 18-month master’s degree program. This evaluation seeks to understand the root causes of recruitment challenges and retention issues to inform the design of recruitment strategies, graduate coursework, and support systems that facilitate effective teaching and teacher retention in the partnering school districts.
In addition to our evaluation work, the REM Center serves as a research partner with the South Carolina Teacher Education Advancement Consortium Through Higher Education Research (SC-TEACHER) project, funded through the SC Commission on Higher Education. The REM Center’s work on SC-TEACHER centers on building a secondary database and conducting subsequent data analysis for the purpose of addressing research questions pertaining to teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention specific to South Carolina.