CONTACT :: Mike McLaughlin, Research Associate, Data, Research and Federal Policy

NCDPI recognizes the importance of using the best available research to make policy decisions. The state has a responsibility to ensure that it is investing in students' lives using the most effective educational approaches. To assure that decisions are being made objectively and that public funds are wisely spent, NCDPI relies on many partners. One such partner is REL-Southeast, housed at Florida State University's Florida Center for Reading Research. REL Southeast is part of a national network of 10 federally funded research education laboratories (RELs) that serve the educational needs of designated regions by providing free access to high quality, scientifically valid research and development projects, studies, related technical assistance activities, and research-to-practice events.

Products and tools for researchers and practitioners
REL Southeast products are available through the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) What Works Clearinghouse ( These products are peer reviewed for technical soundness, readability, and relevance to the concerns of education practitioners.  Another useful tool is Ask A REL, a free collaborative reference desk service provided by the 10 RELs that by design, functions much in the same way as a technical reference library. It provides references, referrals, and brief responses in the form of citations on research based education questions. Ask a question at

REL Southeast disseminates research findings through research to practice Bridge Events held throughout its six-state region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and North Carolina). Bridge Events bring together education practitioners, policymakers and experts to discuss how to best apply the research. These Bridge Events often take the form of a daylong workshop or shorter webinar. To see a complete list of free and informative upcoming events, please visit

Follow REL Southeast on Twitter @REL_SE to stay up-to-date on the latest research, IES products, and upcoming research-to-practice events. Use #RELSE to join the conversation!

Grant Opportunities
Offers information on grant opportunities. 

The Achievement Gap
Focuses on the achievement gap, specifically examines poverty and education outcomes. This section includes information relevant to all students from pre-K through high school, mainly in traditional and charter public schools, and provides resources for researchers, educators, and policymakers. It also consists of two providers of research sources: (1) SERVE at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro abstracts of selected research and (2) NCDPI summaries of selected research about the achievement gap.

The Achievement Gap in North Carolina
Focuses on the achievement gap in North Carolina via state, national, and international studies and articles. This section includes information relevant to all students from pre-K through high school, mainly in traditional and charter public schools, and provides resources for researchers, educators, and policymakers. Users may conduct a web search to access these copyrighted texts that are summarized.

Student Centered Learning
Provides resources ranging from those focused on topics such as Response to Intervention and cooperative learning, to common core standards and more general information on how people learn.  Information is drawn from sources aimed toward policy makers as well as sources intended for educators, and addresses theory as well as practice.

The Impact of Pre-K
Includes resources that explore the impact of pre-k programs from several perspectives, including the economic, academic and social, and consider the implications for the present and the future.  Reports range from those examining statistical information on state policies to   others evaluating specific programs, and more generally, what works in pre-k programs.

Education Funding
Looks at funding and its relationship to public policy.

Education and the Public Good
Assesses the impact of education on the public good by examining   the role of government in schools, and how the taxpayer benefits from effective educational systems.

An Integrated Model of Education
Offers information on topics such as school organization and governance, school choice, and charter schools.

Virtual Learning
Examines the development of on-line educational resources such as virtual schools, and their impact on the character of education. Policy and practice issues are considered, as well as how best to evaluate on-line learning, and how virtual learning may look in the future.