The Centre de recherche et d’intervention sur la réussite scolaire (Centre for Research and Intervention on School Success) or CRIRES (CRISS) unites thirty regular researchers as well as a dozen research associates who are dedicated to the study of success and student retention (research goal) and the support of school communities in their efforts to promote the success of all students (intervention goal). CRIRES also has five partner members.
CRIRES was founded in 1992 by Laval University and the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (Quebec House of Labour), which was formerly known as the Centrale des enseignants du Québec (Quebec Teachers’ House of Labour). In 1998, the Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (Federation of Teaching Unions) joined the two founding partners to help develop the Centre. Since February 6, 2001, CRIRES has been officially recognized by the University Council of Laval University and it’s inter-university status is enshrined in a memorandum of understanding between three universities where the Centre has regular members: Laval University (Laval U), the University of Sherbrooke (UdS) and the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières (UQTR).
The operation of CRIRES
A board of directors represents the founding and institutional partners (Laval University, CSQ, CSQ-ESF, UQTR and UdS) and major players in the world of education that are the Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec (The Federation of Quebec School Boards), the Fédération des cégeps (Federation of colleges), the Fédération des comités de parents du Québec (Federation of Parent Committees in Quebec) and the Centre de transfert pour la réussite éducative du Québec (CTREQ). The board of directors has several responsibilities. One is to propose solutions to problems concerning the allocation of human and material resources necessary for the proper functioning of the Centre. Another role is to appoint the director of the Centre upon the proposal of the Centre’s scientific policy committee. Furthermore, the Board has the authority to modify the Statute of the Centre as well as adopt the financial statements, budget estimates and the development plan proposed by the Assembly of Members.
The Assembly of Members has several key tasks: adopting the scientific program proposed by the heads of research areas, developing the Centre’s development plan, proposing the development plan to the board of directors, overseeing the allocation of the budget assigned to the activities of the axes research, approving applications to join the Centre and establishing procedures for both evaluating those members and maintaining their membership status.
The Assembly of Members regroups regular members and partners as well as three persons representing respectively the student members at the Masters level, at the doctoral level and research professionals. This Assembly receives the annual management report and is consulted on any question submitted by the scientific steering committee.
Research and intervention
CRIRES conducts basic and applied research. Its research strategies reflect the normal path of all scientific work that consists of first developing knowledge about reality and then developing applications to meet human needs, creating work that in turn raises new questions to explore.
CRIRES is also concerned with intervention in the form of the application of knowledge, consultation, research partnerships, community service and targeted training. Members produce publications regularly and professional or general public communications.
CRIRES conceives its research fields from a systemic point of view. School officials along with the communities in which they operate are the inseparable unit of analysis. The analysis focuses on the design and adoption of new practices associated with student retention and student success. By student success, we refer to the attainment of learning objectives that are associated with each stage of the educational path traveled by the student and, ultimately, the attainment of a degree or certificate or integration into the labor market .
In 2006 and 2007, CRIRES conducted a systematic review of research conducted by its members of the factors explaining student retention and student success. This review resulted in the identification of three groups of factors affecting the retention and success of students: a) personal factors related to the student with respect to their values, attitudes and behavior, b) environmental factors related to socioeconomic and cultural origin of the student’s family, c) school factors consisting of the school’s resources, structure, climate, procedures and practices. Clearly, a framework for systemic analysis emerged for the pursuit of the Centre’s research activity with innovation in school environments as an activity to be analyzed.
The CRIRES now orients its field of research more explicitly towards school factors to be improved through the implementation of solutions; these innovations are implemented primarily by school staff, but also by other social actors that intervene to reduce dropout and student failure. Thus, two new research areas focused on innovative practices and practices in the vicinity of the student and the organizational structures of schooling intersect the two axes of the previous research program (factors related to the student and factors related to school in connection with changes that are institutional, social, physical, conceptual and emotional, DeBlois and Lamothe, CRIRES, 2005).
Axis 1 - Proximal practices and student success
Axis 1 aims to study the influence of pedagogical practices and psychosocial interventions on academic achievement. These practices involve direct interaction (proximal) between one or more agents or educators and learners in different contexts. The researchers examine the effect of proximal practices (mediating variables) on the relationship between personal and environmental (social) factors and the risk of student failure or dropout. Through basic and applied research, they examine the profiles of students and conduct analyses of pedagogical practices and psychosocial interventions in order to target the most effective proximal practices with respect to student retention and student success. The key concepts of «relationship with knowledge,» «rapport with school», «sensitivities to the task,» «rapport with the environment and the milieu» and «ownership practices» guide the analysis team in studying student failure, perseverance and success in school subjects.
Axis 2 - Modes of organization of schooling and academic success
Axis 2 aims to study the impact of different modes of organization of programs and services on student success. These practices are more distal to the student, but targeted in order to examine the effectiveness and impact as mediating variables on the relationship between personal and environmental (social) factors of student achievement, including those with special needs. The researchers investigating this axis are looking specifically at five ways of organizing schooling: 1. inclusive education; 2. school integration; 3. special classes, 4. specific educational projects, 5. pathways of reintegration to school.
The CRIRES Bulletin aims to support interventions in the the education community. This publication presents simplified syntheses of analyses or research in progress at CRIRES. The CRIRES Bulletin publishes about two issues per year. It is distributed to 100 000 copies in all schools in Quebec. This publication has been interrupted since 2009.
The tab Studies and research regroups the publication of research reports conducted by researchers from CRIRES. These research reports were subjected to a peer reviewal process.