“My Mizzou” Stories - Students’ Stories
Eric Parsons Named an Emerging Education Policy Scholar
Eric Parsons, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Economics, has been identified as an Emerging Education Policy Scholar (EEPS). The EEPS program is run by the American Enterprise Institute and the Fordham Institute, and it is a nationally competitive program. The program brings together late-career graduate students, early career academics, and postdoctoral students to meet with education policy experts and to share and brainstorm new directions for K–12 education research. They meet three times in two years and then will graduate to alumni status where they will be allowed to present at future meetings to new cohorts. The scholars are chosen based on their keen research eye, fresh ideas, and boundless enthusiasm for education policy.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me, and I am honored to have been selected as part of such an impressive group of scholars,” says Parsons. “Being selected for this award will give me the opportunity to meet lots of current up-and-coming experts in the education policy field, and will hopefully lead to many future research projects and collaborations.”
Parsons plans to complete his doctorate within the next year and a half and then will continue working as a research analyst in the department’s Economic and Policy Analysis Research Center.
“We are doing lots of good and important work here, both independently and in conjunction with the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education,”says Parsons. “As such, I look forward to working with our education policy team for years to come.”
Parsons has been researching value-added modeling in Missouri.
“In addition to being very involved in shaping education policy, he has also co-written several important academic studies,” says Cory Koedel, assistant professor of economics and past EEPS scholar.
He has three papers under review that focus on the estimation of value-added models (VAMs) and their uses as part of education accountability systems.
“Essentially these VAMs use student standardized test scores linked over time, as well as demographic information and other data, to estimate the contribution to student learning that can be attributed to districts, schools, and teachers,” says Parsons.
His first paper uses a readily available, but little used, estimate of test measurement error to improve the estimation of teacher value-added. The second paper looks at how sensitive VAM estimates are to the inclusion of different control variables, and the third paper uses the VAM techniques to examine teacher training programs in Missouri.
“I think the third paper will have the most impact in the national education discussion because it will focus on if certain colleges and universities are turning out better teachers than others,” says Parsons.