UC Merced will be among the seven University of California campuses studying the effectiveness of national, state and UC education initiatives.
"California often spends billions of dollars on educational programs with little or no mandate to evaluate the effects of that investment," UC Merced psychological sciences Professor William Shadish said.
The University of California Educational Evaluation Center (UCEC) includes the Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, San Diego and Santa Barbara campuses. The multidisciplinary team pulls together experts in economics, psychology, education, psychometrics and evaluation methodology. Shadish serves as the campus director for UC Merced.
The center will use a $2.2 million grant for the next four-and-a-half years. The funding begins Jan. 1, and the center will become self-sustaining by 2014 by winning contracts to evaluate other programs.
The seven campus directors will meet in February in Santa Barbara to plan out their first projects. The center's other plans include graduate student evaluation training, grant writing support and developing cutting-edge evaluation methods.
"UC can play a bigger role in educational evaluations at both the state and national level," Shadish said. "UCEC will help make that happen."