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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.)


The Progress of Education Reform: College counseling in high schools -- Advising state policy - This issue of The Progress of Education Reform explores current state approaches to college advising that may not provide the hoped-for gains in college-going, recent research on approaches correlated with increased postsecondary enrollment, including approaches with traditionally underrepresented students and promising state approaches to triage counselors’ efforts with other means to provide college counseling. (Jennifer Dounay Zinth, ECS, December 2014)...

Higher Education Access for America’s Vulnerable Students - This PowerPoint, presented at the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) 2012 National Conference, identifies obstacles to postsecondary participation, particularly among disadvantaged students. The presentation notes current state approaches to providing college counseling, highlights programs in Oregon and Colorado that have improved college participation for traditionally underserved youth, and points to other obstacles to postsecondary participation states are increasingly addressing. (Omari Scott Simmons, Wake Forest University, and Jennifer Dounay Zinth, ECS, October 2012)....

Counseling: Does it really impact student decisionmaking? - 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....

Strategies to Empower Low-Income and Minority Students in Gaining Admission to and Paying for College PDF - This policy brief identifies barriers created by federal, state and local policies that pose a particular challenge for aspiring first-generation college students in the college and financial aid application process, and provides suggestions for how state-level policy might address each barrier. A final section on "other" barriers to college entry seeks to alert policymakers to emerging issues for which adequate institutional, state and federal policy responses are needed. (Jennifer Dounay, Education Commission of the States, November 2008)...

The Progress of Education Reform: Counseling PDF - This issue of Progress of Education Reform takes a closer look at research related to:

  • The variation in access of college counseling across schools and the impact of schools, districts, postsecondary institutions and states on the availability and type of college counseling
  • The types of information traditionally underserved students need to prepare for postsecondary education
  • The varying types of guidance students receive based on their academic pathway or ethnic background.
(Jennifer Dounay, Education Commission of the States, June 2008)...

Helping Equip Teachers to Answer Students' Questions on College Knowledge MS Word PDF - While a majority of both honors and non-honors track high school students in Stanford University's Bridge Project sample reported speaking with a teacher at least once about college admissions requirements, teachers reported receiving very little, if any, information to answer their students' questions. This ECS Policy Brief examines the findings of the Bridge Project's research on students' questions to teachers on "college knowledge," teachers' responses to these questions, and state policies that would better equip teachers to provide students with accurate information on college policies. (Jennifer Dounay, Education Commission of the States, April 2007)...

From the ECS State Policy Database: Counseling/Guidance - 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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