A collection of studies conducted in the Richmond area aimed at improving teaching and learning in K-12 schools has been posted online as part of Virginia Commonwealth University’s open-access publishing platform, making the research more widely accessible for teachers and school administrators at no charge.
The research was conducted by the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium, which is a center of VCU’s School of Education. It was established in 1991 by VCU and the school divisions of Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, Powhatan and Richmond to provide research-based information in response to educational issues identified by local educators.
The studies, from 2000 to 2016, deal with such varied topics as best reading strategies for middle and high school students, the impact of parental involvement on educational outcomes, high-stakes testing for students with learning disabilities, and the debate over when and how students should take algebra.
Each of the studies has been posted on Scholars Compass, a publishing platform created by VCU Libraries to provide wide and stable access to the intellectual output of VCU’s faculty, researchers, students and staff.
“We are trying to make our research more easily accessible to anyone who is doing research that may find our publications useful,” said Angela McGrath, managing director of the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium. “Currently our research is being found mainly through other authors’ work and they get in touch with us and we send them the paper they are requesting. With publishing on Scholar’s Compass, it will make it much easier for someone to find our work simply by Googling key words and the papers are available to anyone around the world.”
Previously, only about five years’ worth of research was available online at the consortium’s website, McGrath said. Eventually, Scholars Compass will offer all the consortium’s research conducted since it was launched.
Sam Byrd, digital collections systems librarian with VCU Libraries, said the project to post the consortium’s research on Scholars Compass is a great example of the kind of service VCU Libraries can offer the VCU and Richmond community.
“By presenting these articles on Scholars Compass, we can offer MERC a place to permanently store and present their research, with persistent URLs and the commitment from the VCU Libraries to preserve their work,” he said. “With the search engine optimization available to us through Scholars Compass, we can ensure that the articles are more widely exposed and indexed and thus more readily available, not just at VCU but on the whole Web, so that educators from other metropolitan areas who are interested in this kind of work can benefit from our research.”