REL Pacific Studies

Through needs sensing in the Pacific region and by working closely with its research alliances, REL Pacific has developed a set of ongoing research and evaluation studies aligned with the high-priority topic areas and designed to address the specific needs of research alliance members. To conduct these studies, REL Pacific collects and analyzes data in collaboration with departments and ministries of education, school administrators, and institutions of higher education.

This work is being done with input from and continuous collaboration with alliance members.

Completed studies

RevResearchStuNonenrollChronicAbsenteeism

Review of Research on Student Nonenrollment and Chronic Absenteeism: A Report for the Pacific Region – December 2014
In some areas of the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Pacific Region, between one-fourth and a half of secondary school–age students are not enrolled in school. Not being enrolled in school or being chronically absent can have lasting effects on students’ economic and social development. This REL Pacific report summarizes research on nonenrollment and chronic absenteeism from the United States and emergent nations that share characteristics with Pacific island nations. Four types of factors influence student nonenrollment and absenteeism: student-specific, family-specific, school-specific, and community-specific. Many of these potential factors are interconnected, and the effects of these factors may vary by region. Therefore, educators, policymakers, and family and community members in the Pacific Region may need to gather additional data in order to explore these factors in their own communities. Stakeholders can also use this review to begin to identify the root causes for why students are not in school in order to develop and implement targeted strategies to support student enrollment and attendance.

teacher absenteeism

Review of International Research on Factors Underlying Teacher Absenteeism – April 2015
Throughout the Pacific Region, teacher absenteeism has posed a long-standing challenge. This research review examines multiple factors that may relate to teacher absenteeism, with a focus on contexts comparable to the Pacific Region. International research points to five themes to consider in relation to teacher absenteeism: pay structure, management, working conditions, community conditions, and social and cultural responsibilities. While variations exist based on different country contexts, this research review generates a collection of key factors that can guide the exploration of root causes of teacher absenteeism in the Pacific Region.

Yap’s education management information system

Benchmarking the State of Yap’s Education Management Information System – Feb 2015
Data specialists in the state of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia assessed their education management information system using a rubric with four benchmark levels that rated five aspects of system quality with 46 indicators. The four benchmark levels were latent (not in place), emerging (in the process of implementation), established (in place and meeting standards), and mature (an example of best practice). The overall system was rated as established. The five aspects of system quality were rated as follows:

  • Prerequisites of quality (the legal and institutional frameworks that govern the information system and data reporting, and the supporting resources): emerging.
  • Integrity of education statistics: emerging.
  • Accuracy and reliability of education statistics: mature.
  • Serviceability (relevance, timeliness, and consistency): established.
  • Accessibility of education data to stakeholders: established.

The report also provides the scores for the 46 indicators that were used to calculate the benchmark level of the system overall and the five aspects of quality.

Studies currently underway

Exploring Patterns of Success at Northern Marianas College
College and career readiness and success is a priority throughout the United States and across the Pacific Region. Research suggests that 60-70 percent of community college students across the U.S. are assigned to at least one remedial course, and further, that fewer than 25 percent of students assigned to remediation are likely to complete a college degree. To provide a clearer understanding of the impact of remedial course assignment on student success, REL Pacific is examining the characteristics and college trajectories of students who are placed into remedial English or math classes, as compared to students who are placed into credit-bearing courses, at Northern Marianas College in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The research questions for the study are:

  1. How is placement into remedial or non-remedial English and math courses associated with students’ ongoing college success at Northern Marianas College?
  2. How are student background characteristics associated with students’ initial placement into either remedial or credit-bearing courses and with ongoing college success?

Exploring the Academic Readiness of Incoming Students to Northern Marianas College
Increasing students’ college and career readiness and success is a priority throughout the United States and across the Pacific region. Educators in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) have expressed concern about high rates of student assignment to non-credit bearing remedial education courses at the local college, Northern Marianas College (NMC), which may indicate that many students are not ready to succeed in college. This study is intended to provide actionable information to help inform policies and practices related to high school advising, requirements for graduation from high school, interventions to increase attendance, interventions to increase the rigor or content of high school courses, analyses of grading practices, and the placement process at NMC. The study is guided by the following questions:

  1. What are the high school profiles of students entering Northern Marianas College who were assigned to either remedial English courses or credit-bearing English courses upon entry?
  2. What are the demographic characteristics of students entering Northern Marianas College who were assigned to either remedial math courses or credit-bearing math courses upon entry?
  3. How is remedial course placement in English or math related to students’ high school profiles and demographic characteristics?

Patterns and Results of the Practice Teacher Certification Examination in Palau
Entities within the freely associated states are at varying stages of developing and implementing teacher certification processes; as a result, the percentage of certified teachers in the region is low and teacher effectiveness is a concern. This study explores the performance of teachers in Palau on an internationally developed assessment of reading, writing, and math for teacher certification. This study involves the administration of a demographic survey and the practice ETS Praxis I PPST tests of reading, writing, and math to teachers employed with the Palau Ministry of Education. The paper-and-pencil tests was administered over a period of two days by Palau Ministry of Education and proctored by staff from the Ministry of Education and Palau Community College. Performance of the Palau teachers by teacher characteristics will be examined as well as strengths and weaknesses in the content categories of the practice ETS Praxis I PPST in reading, writing, and math. The findings from the study will inform Palau’s decision to move forward with full implementation of the Praxis I PPST as part of its teacher certification process. This study is guided by the research questions:
1. How do teachers from Palau perform on the practice ETS Praxis I PPST tests of reading, writing, and math?

  • What are the relationships between teacher demographic and professional characteristics and teacher performance on the practice ETS Praxis 1 PPST tests of reading, writing, and math?

2. What content categories on the practice ETS Praxis 1 PPST tests of reading, writing, and math show content area strengths and weaknesses of teachers from Palau?

  • What are the relationships between teacher demographic and professional characteristics, and teacher performance on the practice ETS Praxis 1 PPST’s content categories from the reading, writing, and math tests.

Enrollment, Demographic, and Program Participation Characteristics of Guam’s Freely Associated State (FAS) Micronesian Students
Guam is home to a diverse population, including a high percentage of indigenous Chamorro, Filipino, and Micronesian residents. This study will address the need for more precise information regarding FAS Micronesian students in Guam Department of Education (GDOE) schools, a need resulting from a substantial migration of Micronesians from the FAS in Guam in recent years. Results will inform educators’ and policymakers’ need for information about this student population, as well as potential ways in which to engage families and the community to better serve Micronesian students.

College Readiness Among High School Completers in American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Many students entering college in the Pacific region are required to enroll in developmental or remedial education programs, which can increase the time required to achieve a degree and are associated with less successful college outcomes. In American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), education leaders have expressed concerns about college readiness of graduating high school students and the percentage of students testing into remedial courses. This study responds to requests from education leaders to examine the condition of college readiness in these entities and to identify opportunities to strengthen and improve students’ college and career readiness.

The State of Chuuk: Benchmarking Education Management Information Systems in the Federated States of Micronesia
The availability of quality data is critical in order to effectively monitor and report education activities and outcomes. Education management information systems are designed to provide comprehensive, integrated, relevant, reliable, unambiguous, and timely data to education leaders, decision makers, planners, and managers. In the Federated States of Micronesia (Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap), education data have been used primarily for demonstrating compliance with programmatic (e.g., special education) and funding requirements (e.g., U.S. health and education compact funds). The proposed study will provide an assessment and benchmarking of the education data system in use in the Chuuk State Department of Education. This study will complement an effort already underway at the National FSM Department of Education. Concurrent assessment and benchmarking of the state education data systems in the states of Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap will be pursued through separate REL Pacific research and evaluation studies.

The State of Pohnpei: Benchmarking Education Management Information Systems in the Federated States of Micronesia
The availability of quality data is critical in order to effectively monitor and report education activities and outcomes. Education management information systems are designed to provide comprehensive, integrated, relevant, reliable, unambiguous, and timely data to education leaders, decision makers, planners, and managers. In the Federated States of Micronesia (Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap), education data have been used primarily for demonstrating compliance with programmatic (e.g., special education) and funding requirements (e.g., U.S. health and education compact funds). The proposed study will provide an assessment and benchmarking of the education data system in use in the Pohnpei State Department of Education. This study will complement an effort already underway at the National FSM Department of Education. Concurrent assessment and benchmarking of the state education data systems in the states of Kosrae, Chuuk, and Yap will be pursued through separate REL Pacific research and evaluation studies.

The State of Kosrae: Benchmarking Education Management Information Systems in the Federated States of Micronesia
The availability of quality data is critical in order to effectively monitor and report education activities and outcomes. Education management information systems are designed to provide comprehensive, integrated, relevant, reliable, unambiguous, and timely data to education leaders, decision makers, planners, and managers. In the Federated States of Micronesia (Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap), education data have been used primarily for demonstrating compliance with programmatic (e.g., special education) and funding requirements (e.g., U.S. health and education compact funds). The proposed study will provide an assessment and benchmarking of the education data system in use in the Kosrae State Department of Education. This study will complement an effort already underway at the National FSM Department of Education. Concurrent assessment and benchmarking of the state education data systems in the states of Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Yap will be pursued through separate REL Pacific research and evaluation studies

Benchmarking Education Management Information Systems Across the Federated States of Micronesia
Through this research project, REL Pacific will help the FSM research alliance and the National Department of Education to develop a comprehensive understanding of its data management system in an effort to better inform education policy and planning. The work builds upon findings resulting from four separate REL Pacific research studies as well as a study at the national level using the same review protocol. This study will be guided by the research question: What are the similarities and differences in the quality of education management systems across the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), as measured by the SABER indicators of quality?