The 79th Legislature (third called session, 2006) authorized the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to establish three statewide centers for education research. One such center, the Education Research Center at Texas A&M University (the ERC at TAMU), was established within the College of Education and Human Development in August 2007. The ERC was charged with conducting research on P-16 education issues in Texas, disseminating results and findings, and providing access to student level education data for other researchers.
To facilitate the work of the center, the THECB—under an interagency contract with TEA—provides the ERC at TAMU with both P-12 and higher education data. This practice has allowed the ERC to become a primary source of access to student level education data for other researchers across Texas.
The ERC studies major issues in education reform and school governance in order to improve policy and decision-making in P-16 education. Researchers from TAMU's College of Education and Human Development, Bush School of Government and Public Service, and College of Liberal Arts and from TAMU International are involved in a number of projects that focus on (a) educator preparation; (b) school finance, resources, and facilities; and (c) curriculum and teaching methods. The interdisciplinary team of researchers investigates the nature and impact of school resources and educational practices on student learning and on gaps in achievement among racial/ethnic groups in Texas.