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News Release

Researcher Receives $1.8 Million USAID Grant for Groundbreaking Study of Latin American Elementary Education

Contact: Lisa James Goldsberry (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 16, 2004) -- University at Albany Professor Gilbert Valverde has been awarded a $1.8 million grant from the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) for a first-of-its-kind study of Latin American educational opportunities and progress. The grant, will enable him to conduct a four-year study tracing students in the Dominican Republic as they progress from grade four to grade seven, measuring what they learn in math and reading in each grade.

Two Dominican universities, the Instituto Tecnologico de Santo Domingo (INTEC) and the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra, will assist him in carrying out the research.

"Latin America, with a handful of exceptions, has only recently begun conducting national evaluations. These are almost never assessments of learning - that is, the growth in abilities and knowledge that takes place during a particular grade - and they do not include measures of educational opportunities for purposes of modeling," said Valverde. He and his research team will "attempt to explain variations in what is learned by measuring the specific learning opportunities students are provided - for example, what sorts of textbooks they use, their teachers' instructional practices and resources, the schools' resources and policies."

Valverde, who has a primary appointment to Educational Administration and Policy Studies (EAPS) in UAlbany's School of Education, is on the core faculty of the Comparative and International Education Policy Program. An affiliated member of the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, he also is member of the Department of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago and joined the UAlbany faculty five years ago after serving as associate director of the U.S. National Research Center for the Third International Mathematics and Science Study.

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