Michigan Department of Education | Strategic Research Agenda

The MDE supports research that helps us implement our Top 10 in 10 Goals, as outlined below. We seek partners who are willing to co-develop and implement research studies that help us achieve these goals.

Goal 1: Provide every child access to an aligned high-quality P-20 system from early childhood to post-secondary attainment—through a multi-stakeholder collaboration with business and industry, labor, and higher education—to maximize lifetime learning and success.

MDE Priority Research Topics:

  • Understanding the landscape of P-20 programming and opportunities in Michigan LEAs, and how those various pathways relate to student outcomes—academic, whole child, and postsecondary transitions?
    • With the introduction of the Marshall Plan for Talent, how are we using career pathways as a state and how do those impact student outcomes?
  • Deeper research into any component of the P-20 system including the early childhood, K-12 and postsecondary programmatic offerings and connection to outcomes.

Goal 2: Implement with strong district and building leadership, high quality instruction in every classroom through a highly-coherent, child-centered instructional model where students meet their self-determined academic and personal goals to their highest potential.

MDE Priority Research Topics:

  • How can personalized learning approaches and competency-based education help with student outcomes—academic as well as other outcomes of interest?
  • What instructional approaches best support student learning, with particular attention paid to questions of implementation, scale up, and conditions necessary for success?
  • Research into strategies, practices, and interventions that best support Michigan’s diverse learner population, including English learners, students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, Michigan’s indigenous students, etc.
  • How can the MDE leverage social media, social networks, and/or technology to disseminate and share information related to high quality instructional practices in new ways?

Goal 3: Develop, support and sustain a high-quality, prepared and collaborative education workforce.

MDE Priority Research Topics:

  • Understanding how the educator pipeline is functioning at each stage (recruitment, preparation, certification, placement, mentoring/induction, evaluation and professional learning) and what helps ensure the highest-quality teachers possible in Michigan?
  • Impact of potential changes to the pipeline
  • What are some evidence-based recruitment strategies, and which strategies are at the SEA level, the LEA level and elsewhere?

Goal 4: Reduce the impact of high-risk factors, including poverty, and provide equitable resources to meet the needs of all students to ensure that they have access to quality educational opportunities.

MDE Priority Research Topics:

  • How is our Partnership District model working to turn around low-performing schools and districts?
  • Studies that provide the MDE with evidence on promising practices related to supporting the needs of the whole child.
  • Financial equity studies related to school finance.

Goal 5: Ensure that parents/guardians are engaged and supported partners in their child’s education

MDE Priority Research Topics:

  • Partnerships and studies that test various strategies to increase parental engagement and provide the MDE with information on “what works” in terms of increased parent/guardian engagement and satisfaction.
  • Partnerships and studies that investigate the relationship between parent/guardian engagement and student outcomes (academic and non-academic/whole child).

Goal 6: Create a strong alignment and partnership with job providers, community colleges and higher education to assure a prepared and quality future workforce, and informed and responsible citizens.

MDE Priority Research Topics:

  • Research outlined under Goal 1 related to the P-20 pipeline and various student pathways
  • Research and partnerships that provide evidence about the success of various types of partnerships with job providers, community colleges and higher education.

Goal 7: Further develop an innovative and cohesive state education agency that supports an aligned, coherent education system at all levels (state, ISD, district, and school).

MDE Priority Research Topics:

  • What types of preparation and training help create SEA leaders and employees who can enact a vision of an innovative and cohesive state education agency?

Programmatic Priority Areas for MDE

We have particular interest in research partnerships that help us with our three priority areas:

  • Literacy and numeracy
  • Supporting the whole child
  • Supporting our youngest learners (prenatal to age 8)

Note: Within those areas, we need to consider policies; student/instructional level programs and interventions or strategies; educator workforce capacity; resources; and barriers to implementation. Those considerations could be impacted by very different types of studies.

Detailed List of Possible Questions

The MDE has a more detailed list of possible questions of interest, prioritized internally. However, this is not a comprehensive list; research partners can and should propose other topics that broadly fit the goals outlined above. The prioritization can also change based on available partners and/or funding—something that is described as “long term” may move to “near future” with the right combination of interest, partners and funding.

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