SEDL Awarded REL Southwest Contract

January 17, 2012
Austin, Texas

Laura Shankland
Communications Associate
Phone: 512-391-6556

SEDL has obtained funding for groundbreaking new work with educators and researchers in five states. The award to serve as the regional educational laboratory for the Southwest (REL-SW) will enable SEDL and its partners to establish innovative alliances that tackle such persistent issues as closing the achievement gap, strengthening rural school performance, and improving Hispanic student achievement.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, the 5-year, $40 million contract encompasses work in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. SEDL will lead the REL-SW in partnership with the American Institutes of Research and RAND Corporation, two of the largest social science research organizations in the world, as well as several small businesses and a cadre of national experts.

According to SEDL President and CEO Wes Hoover, “This initiative holds tremendous promise for studying persistent educational problems and their potential solutions, and—ultimately—for improving the quality of critical decisions about educational policy and practice.” The new work includes an emphasis on building educators’ capacity to understand and apply data and research as they seek to improve educational outcomes. Activities are carried out through research alliances that, as Hoover explains, “bring researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to the same table not merely to talk, but to work together” to address common concerns.

Alliance members focus on a high-priority topic, identifying research questions for which they need answers; REL-SW staff will then work with the alliances to design and conduct studies that can help to illuminate problems and solutions.

About SEDL

SEDL (formerly Southwest Educational Development Laboratory) is a nonprofit corporation based in Austin, Texas. SEDL is dedicated to solving significant education problems and improving teaching and learning through research, research-based resources, and professional development. For more information about SEDL, visit