Michigan Department of Education | Strategic Research Agenda

We invite researchers to propose projects to help further the goals outlined in Michigan’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan:

  • Expand early childhood learning opportunities
  • Improve early literacy achievement
  • Improve the health, safety, and wellness of all learners
  • Expand secondary learning opportunities for all students
  • Increase the percentage of all students who graduate from high school
  • Increase the percentage of adults with a postsecondary credential
  • Increase the numbers of certified teachers in areas of shortage
  • Provide adequate and equitable school funding

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.

The MDE supports research that helps us implement Michigan's Top 10 Strategic Education Plan. We seek partners who are willing to co-develop and implement research studies that help us examine the priorities listed below.

Strategic Education Principle 1: All students have access to high-quality instruction regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, economic status, native language, or physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities to close the student achievement and opportunity gaps that currently exist.

Priority Research Topics:

  • 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?
  • 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.
  • How can personalized learning approaches and competency-based education help with student outcomes—academic as well as other outcomes of interest?

Strategic Education Principle 2: All educators are encouraged to be creative and innovative. All educators are adequately compensated and respected for their professionalism, and have the resources, support, and training needed to educate students.

Priority Research Topics:

  • Implementing and evaluating strategies to increase the diversity of the educator workforce, as well as identifying research-based strategies for this work.
  • 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?

Strategic Education Principle 3: All students are encouraged to express their creativity, have voice in their own learning, feel connected to their schools, and have authentic, meaningful relationships with educators.

Priority Research Topics:

  • Engaging student voice to identify programs and supports needed in Michigan schools and districts, and to evaluate the efficacy of programs already in place.
  • Research into the impact of diverse curricular materials on student engagement, aspirations and outcomes.
  • 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?
  • 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.

Strategic Education Principle 4: All students are provided every opportunity to achieve the broadest range of life dreams.

Priority Research Topics:

  • Research outlined under Principle 3 above 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.

Strategic Education Principle 5: Families and communities are essential partners of teachers, support staff, and administrators in the education of students.

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).

Strategic Education Principle 6: In support of students and their achievement, the Michigan Department of Education is coordinated, aligned, and properly resourced, and collaborates with school districts and a wide range of partners and stakeholders.

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?

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.