About Quant-DARE


The Quantitative Data Analysis and Research (Quant-DARE) provides a data warehouse and expertise in quantitative data analysis and research support.

Background

Currently, quantitative data collection and analysis research and development in education is poorly served; few academics, postgraduate students, or school leaders and teachers have expertise in organising or statistically analysing achievement or other data. A large number of research teams, projects, and centres have developed in an ad hoc manner to deal with their own immediate project requirements. This means research and professional development activities in quantitative domains are generally short-lived and employment of key personnel is normally tenuous. Furthermore, increasingly complex research questions are being posed which require sophisticated statistical analyses.

Current policy initiatives in schooling improvement usually require accurate school-wide achievement data as the basis of planning and evaluating interventions. Helping schools develop capacity to do self-evaluation of data is challenging, because school data are often not systematically and accurately collected and managed by schools and there are few staff with appropriate skills. These conditions limit the faculty's ability to work with schools on improvement goals, to prepare high quality research studies, and to use data to inform school improvement efforts. A further limitation faced by researchers is that often insufficient data or funding are available within any one study to support high quality analyses. Hence, there is a need for a mechanism which integrates and systematises data collected by different research units and researchers within the Faculty of Education and Social Work.

Additionally, graduate students frequently require advice and assistance to carry out statistical analyses which are beyond the scope of their supervisors. The faculty provides little course content to graduate students to address these learning needs. Hence, there is a need for a mechanism by which students can obtain advice and/or training within the parameters of PReSS accounts or similar self-funded resources.

A third need exists among academic staff who need advice to develop quantitative components for external research grant or contract bids. Frequently funders or contract sponsors insist that a quantitative component be included in a proposal. Staff require assistance to prepare bids and, if successful, to carry out the quantitative elements. Since proposals are not funded, pricing needs to reflect this‹lower charges during the development process would be compensated by cost price plus overhead charging during implementation.

Fourthly, faculty research centres and groups obtain funding or grants to carry out statistical analyses of various kinds of data. Such projects often require scoping of the kinds of statistical analysis needed to address research goals and assistance in advanced statistical analysis. Quant-DARE serves to advise on full cost plus overheads basis such externally funded academic projects with advice and manpower.

Finally, research assistants/associates and post-doctoral researchers who carry out predominantly quantitative data collection and analysis often do not have a natural community to share their interests and needs within their appointed school. Methodological benefit would improve by having such people be affiliated with Quant-DARE and encouraging them to attend Quant-DARE team meetings and present their research under the umbrella of Quant-DARE.
 

Quant-DARE goals:

Short-Term

  • T o provide advice and assistance on the design of a data repository for multiple research projects and professional development activities such that data are organised in a consistent manner so as to support research and professional learning.
  • To advise on data collection and management for research and professional development projects.
  • To assist with the development of data management standards and techniques so that researchers in the faculty prepare and collect high quality data.
  • To assist research teams, projects, and centres in the design of relational data base systems to handle multi-level and longitudinal achievement data for both primary and secondary schools and which permit analyses in standard statistical software systems.
  • To offer expert advice in quantitative data management and analysis to graduate students and researchers in the faculty.
  • To contribute to building capacity among faculty academic and research staff in handling quantitative data.
  • To create an environment that welcomes and supports quantitative research expertise in the faculty and in schools.

Long-term

  • To provide a service to New Zealand schools with regards to management of their own achievement data.
  • To create a mechanism by which longitudinal data analysis can be performed.
  • To advance quantitative research and data analytic methods in education within NZ and internationally.
  • To provide and advance psychometric evaluations in education
  • To develop and validate educational measurement instruments.