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 integration 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). This standards-based arts assessment has been administered annually to South Carolina students since 2000 and is funded through the SCDE’s Distinguished Arts Program.
The REM Center conducts a variety of work aimed to improve the development and education of young children. We provide evaluation for the Learning Bridge, a project designed to support literacy and school readiness across the Midlands offered through the Richland County Public Library System. Richland Library combined two programs, Summer Stride and Here Comes Kindergarten, to support families in being prepared for school and learning to read. Our team also provides evaluation services for quality rating and improvement system initiatives designed to measure and communicate the quality of childcare centers. Our work in this area includes two separate partnerships, one with the statewide ABC Quality program through the SC Department of Social Services and one with Quality Counts in Greenville County through Spartanburg First Steps.
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 career. This is accomplished by implementing innovative programs and practices that have been shown to improve student outcomes. We have conducted evaluations of magnet and charter school programs. Our current work in school transformation include the evaluation of a Race to the Top District grant awarded to a consortium of South Carolina school districts called the Carolina Consortium for Enterprise Learning (CCEL) and the evaluation of schools receiving funding from the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program through the South Carolina Department of Education.
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 UofSC 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 UofSC faculty to serve as evaluator on multiple science teacher professional development programs funded through the US Department of Education’s Math Science Partnership program.
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. The REM Center also is a partner on 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. The REM Center also provides evaluation services for the Apple Core Initiative, a UofSC 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 the Apple Core Initiative team on logic modeling, evaluation planning, and data collection.