Robert Knoeppel, chair of the Clemson University Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development, recently won the Educational Considerations Scholarly Paper Award from the National Education Finance Conference for the third consecutive year.

Robert Knoeppel, chair of the Clemson University Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development, recently won the Educational Considerations Scholarly Paper Award from the National Education Finance Conference for the third consecutive year.
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Robert Knoeppel, chair of the Clemson University Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development, and Matthew Della Sala, assistant professor at Purdue University and former Clemson doctoral student, recently won the Educational Considerations Scholarly Paper Award from the National Education Finance Conference for the third consecutive year.

Knoeppel and Della Sala’s paper is entitled “Identifying Factors Associated with the Alignment of Finance and Accountability Policies.” Knoeppel and Della Sala previously developed, calculated and tested a metric they dubbed the “opportunity gap” to measure the degree of misalignment between the equity of states’ finance systems and the intended equity of student performance outcomes.

Their latest paper is the culmination of the three years of research Knoeppel and Della Sala shared on the subject. It focuses on all the factors that align finance systems with state measures of student achievement.

“Our question was whether or not sufficient funds are available to produce the intended level of education,” Knoeppel said. “Unfortunately we found that none of the states we analyzed provided the alignment of education finance and accountability that would meet the demands of educational adequacy.”

Knoeppel said the idea for the paper was his initially, but after developing a research agenda with Della Sala, the paper was built on the collaborative ideas and research between them. Even though Della Sala graduated from Clemson with a Ph.D. in educational leadership in 2014, he and Knoeppel continued to collaborate on the research that resulted in the winning paper. Knoeppel said he values the work he and Della Sala shared as much as he values any recognition for it.

“Education is all about relationships and providing outcomes, so it only gets better when those outcomes translate into something that becomes that well received,” Knoeppel said.

Knoeppel, a professor, has been on the Clemson faculty since 2008. A widely published researcher, his academic interests include school finance, leadership and principalship, education accountability policy, education reform, teacher quality and educational equity and adequacy. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he earned a master’s degree in school counseling and Ph.D. in educational foundations, leadership and policy from the University of Virginia.

The mission of the National Education Finance Conference is to provide a forum focused on school finance to enhance education.