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research studies database
Research Studies provide concise, bulleted Findings, Policy Implications, and Recommendations on key issues, such as:

  • High school rigor and exit exams
  • Better serving English language learners
  • Boosting reading and math achievement
  • College entry and completion
  • Reducing dropout rates and increasing graduation rates
  • And many more!  (Go to the database.)

progress of education reform
progress of ed reformThe Progress of Education Reform addresses the hottest education issue and provides information in a concise and easy-to-read format based on the most recent studies and reports.

ECS Document Collections
ECS regularly issues useful compilations, summaries and/or comparisons of state policies—enacted or pending—on a wide variety of education topics, listed on the right. For a list of our most current documents, please see our What's New page.

Please use the links below to download PDFs that include all the documents for a given year.

If you'd like to order a print copy, contact the ECS Distribution Center at 303.299.3692 or

Reprint Permission
ECS is pleased to have other organizations or individuals share its materials with their constituents. To request permission to excerpt part of our publications either in print
or electronically, please e-mail, subject: Reprint Permission. State the full name of the document, and supply detail about how the permission will be used (audience, quantity, etc).  A response will be provided within 24 hours.



ECS Policy Analysis Topics:

(Note: Not all topics have an ECS document associated with them. If you are looking for information on a specific topic, you can use our search function.)

Postsecondary Success

Reverse Transfer: What is the best route to take? - This brief, the third in a series on reverse transfer, presents early outcomes data for the 10 states that have implemented statewide policies and offers recommendations informed by prior state actions. (Lexi Anderson, Education Commission of the States, September 2015)...

Reverse Transfer: The Path Less Traveled - This education trends report defines reverse transfer and explores how states and organizations might utilize the policy as one approach to support increasing educational attainment. (Lexi Anderson, ECS, May 2015)...

Multiple measures for college readiness - This ECS Education Trends report reviews the multiple measures to assess a student's college readiness, provides a deeper look at competency-based assessments and offers policy considerations for state and system leaders. (Lexi Anderson and Mary Fulton, ECS, February 2015)...

Dual Enrollment: A Strategy to Improve College-Going and College Completion among Rural Students - Research shows that students who participate in dual enrollment are more likely than their peers to finish high school, enter college and complete a degree. This means dual enrollment can greatly benefit students in rural areas, which report lower college-going and postsecondary attainment rates than other locales. However, rural areas face unique challenges in providing high-quality dual enrollment programs. This report discusses how states are rising to these challenges. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, ECS, June 2014)...

Moving the Needle on Degree Completion: The Legislative Role PDF - The College Completion Agenda hinted at how legislators could initiate effective reform. This document, produced with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, provides a roadmap that state leaders can use to reach their goals and presents action-oriented policymaking models that could sustain reform. (Matthew Smith, ECS, February 2013) ...

The Progress of Education Reform: Producing Quality Credentials PDF - This issue of The Progress of Education Reform presents emerging research on the value of credentials and highlights ways that states can leverage data and accompanying strategies to strengthen the fit between the production of postsecondary credentials and workforce demand. (Matthew Smith, ECS, October 2012)...

Surfacing the Top Ten Trends from the 2012 Legislative Session PDF - ECS’ Boosting College Completion project recently produced a report on the top ten legislative trends of 2012. The policy scan suggests that legislatures are focusing on meeting workforce needs through the creation of new programs of study and the streamlining of career pathways. Overall, seven of the 10 trends had a substantial workforce or economic development element....

12 for 2012 - 12 for 2012 is an ECS “read of the field,” built on our scrutiny of new reports and research, and our analysis of emerging drivers of change. The 12 policy areas do not represent an exhaustive list of the critical issues for the coming year, nor is this report intended to dictate your education policy priorities for 2012. Rather, 12 for 2012 is intended to stimulate thinking around how best to craft the “2.0” of powerful policy across the states. (ECS, 2012)...

The Progress of Education Reform: Higher Education Reform PDF - This issue of The Progress of Education Reform looks at recent research in the areas of assessing student learning, the use of technology in instruction, and models for providing the academic and social support students need to stay on track and earn a postsecondary credential. (Bruce Vandal, Education Commission of the States, August 2011)...

Committing to College Completion: A National Agenda to Improve Postsecondary Attainment and Workforce Readiness - Hear what Hilary Pennington had to say about postsecondary completion at the 2011 ECS National Forum on Education Policy. ...

College Persistence and Completion: What impacts student success? - Access related research titles from the ECS Research Studies Database. Links embedded in titles will take you to each study's major findings and recommendations....

The Progress of Education Reform: Investing in College Completion PDF - This issue of The Progress of Education Reform summarizes recent research that may challenge conventional wisdom on how and where public resources for postsecondary education should be dedicated in an effort to increase college completion rates. Questions to be examined include: 1) How did changes in enrollments and the allocation of resources result in declining college completion rates in the United States? 2) Does shifting enrollments to community colleges save money in the long run? and 3) Can investments in student services rather than instruction increase college completion? (Bruce Vandal, Education Commission of the States, August 2010)...

What Impacts Student Success in College Persistence and Completion? PDF - This Research Review is a compilation of research study summaries that address postsecondary success and completion. The recent studies address topics such as: transfer rates, pathways to degrees, declining completion rates and student engagement. (Molly Ryan, August 2010) ...

From the ECS State Policy Database: Postsecondary Success - This policy database—updated weekly—is made possible by your state's fiscal support of the Education Commission of the States....

From the ECS State Policy Database: Postsecondary Success--Completion - This policy database—updated weekly—is made possible by your state's fiscal support of the Education Commission of the States....

From the ECS State Policy Database: Postsecondary Success--Retention/Persistence - This policy database—updated weekly—is made possible by your state's fiscal support of the Education Commission of the States....

From the ECS State Policy Database: Postsecondary - This policy database—updated weekly—is made possible by your state's fiscal support of the Education Commission of the States....

Online Databases
Roll over each database for a description.

p-3 archived databases
kindergarten artscan
k-12 choice
12-grade transitions highly qualified requirements for special ed
charter NCLB
choice-open enrollment NCLB snaps
citizen-ed kindergarten
dual leadership
english language learners Paraprofessionals: Explore our findings for Title I Instructional Paraprofessional qualifications and certification requirements, paraprofessional professional development programs and state assessments for paraprofessionals.
high school literacy
K-12 teacher certification
school accountability teacher comp
state funding for students with disabilities Teacher Professional Development
service-learning teacher prep
teacher tenure special-ed teacher certification
postsecondary dual
blueprint charter
transfer and articulation Postsecondary
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