Research for Action
RFA’s research and evaluations combine rigor with flexibility to inform and improve programs, policies, and practices toward equitable educational opportunities and outcomes.
RFA conducts rigorous, actionable research. Our staff of skilled qualitative and quantitative researchers and education policy experts bring methodological training from the disciplines of education, sociology, economics, law, public policy, human development, and anthropology. Drawing on our extensive knowledge of emerging and established methods, we carefully design mixed-methods studies that effectively meet research objectives. Our team of highly-trained administrators and communications professionals provide support for the management of our portfolio and partnerships as well as strategic dissemination of the research to support its impact.
RFA approaches each evaluation partnership with a customized strategy for meeting our partner’s information needs; we are committed to understanding the project’s context and collaboratively developing a plan to ensure that our work is useful and timely.
Some of the ways we work with clients
Research and Data-driven Program Planning, Design, and Improvement
We partner with clients on…Theory of Change development; Needs Assessment; Developmental and Formative Evaluation; and Feasibility studies
Cross-portfolio and systems change research and evaluation
We partner with philanthropy and intermediaries to develop learning agendas and to implement learning evaluation and progress monitoring across multiple grantees and outcomes to understand effectiveness and amplify impacts.
Rigorous, Culturally Responsive and Equity-focused Mixed Methods Evaluations of Implementation, Impact, and Cost
We design and conduct rigorous studies that assess the impacts of education programs and policies implemented in real-world contexts and yield robust information about the conditions needed for high quality implementation, including Experimental and Quasi-experimental studies; Qualitative exploration of program impacts; Assessments of fidelity of implementation; and Cost efficiency/ effectiveness assessments.
Survey Design, Administration, and Analysis
We partner with clients to design large- and small-scale surveys intended for a wide range of participants from students and parents to teachers, principals, organization and system leaders and policy makers.
Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for Evaluation and Program Development
We help our clients and their partners to strengthen internal capacity to collect and use high quality data to solve problems of practice through …Customized Tool Development, Data Quality Coaching, Learning Communities/ Communities of Practice, Participatory Action Research; Statistical analysis/ training workshops; and Data landscape analysis
National, State, and Local Policy and Media Scans and Policy Analysis
We take systematic and rigorous approaches to scanning policy, legislation, and media at the national, state, and local levels via web/archive searches, social media scans, legislative databases, and informational interviews with stakeholders. We create policy timelines, interactive policy maps, and policy databases to meet the unique information needs of our partners and the field.
Curate and distill evidence of effectiveness, efficacy and racial equity into policy debates and decision-making.
We craft and disseminate policy briefs, FAQ, analysis of federal, state, and local administrative data sets, literature reviews, data visualizations, public testimony, and op-eds. We partner with media outlets to provide robust empirical evidence to support and influence public opinion with information rooted in research and evidence.
Convener and facilitator of research-based town halls, partner meetings, and events to foster community engagement and strengthen civic dialogue to advance racial and social justice in education
We create spaces for actionable, research-informed conversations on timely and critical topics in education like teacher diversity and retention, student homelessness, and barriers to high school graduation.