Current Work

OUR WORK IS NOT ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL. RFA approaches each project with a customized strategy; we are deeply attuned to our partners’ information needs and we work closely with them to ensure that our deliverables and deadlines are useful and timely. Above all, we strive to ensure that our work is accessible, actionable, and contributes valuable information to our clients and to the larger field. Below is a brief description of each of our current projects.

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Expanding the Knowledge Base on State Policies Impacting Undocumented Students in Higher Education

Immigrant-origin students account for 58% of U.S. postsecondary enrollment growth in the last twenty years. This population will continue to grow in the next ten years.  Yet the significant implications of that growth for state…

State Responses to COVID-19 – Implications for Student Success Funding and Promise Programs

COVID-19, and related enrollment and budget fluctuations, have caused dramatic shifts across higher education. As states struggle to enroll and retain students in the face of COVID-19, decisions about whether and how to sustain, refine,…

California Community Colleges Data Collection Project

In an effort to reduce the number of transfer-bound students placed into developmental education, California passed Assembly Bill 705 in 2017, which requires community colleges to use multiple measures to place students into transfer-level courses…

Evaluation of the Philadelphia Health Resource Center (HRC) program

Since 1991, AccessMatters has partnered with the School District of Philadelphia to implement the Health Resource Center (HRC) Program for youth aged 13-19 in schools throughout Philadelphia. Currently, there are HRCs at 21 local high…

Allegheny County Education Research (ACER) Project

RFA’s Allegheny County Education Research (ACER) project is designed to inform education policy discussions in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County through rigorous, objective policy briefs and research-based commentaries. The goal is to provide accessible and actionable…

Educational Opportunity Dashboard

RFA’s Educational Opportunity Dashboard provides a unique tool to compare how well policymakers in each state are providing high school students with basic access to schools with high quality educational opportunities. The analysis is based…

Examining the Impact, Implementation, and Cost Effectiveness of Completion Coaching in a Statewide College Promise Program

RFA received funding from Arnold Ventures to conduct a four-year Randomized Control Trial of an intensive coaching program for Tennessee Promise students from low-income households. This study is being conducted in partnership with tnAchieves, the…

Evaluation of an afterschool STEM mentoring program

EngWINS expands the Women In Natural Science (WINS) program to include exposure to engineering. This program connects young women with mentor scientists from Drexel University and the Academy of Natural Sciences (ANS). EngWINS also includes…

Advancing Racial Equity in Higher Education Attainment

Lumina’s Talent, Innovation, and Equity (TIE) initiative awards multi-year grants and technical assistance for states to promote awareness of racial attainment gaps in postsecondary education and work towards the reduction and elimination of those gaps.…

Evaluation of Children’s Literacy Initiative’s Curriculum and Professional Development Model for Kindergarten Readiness

RFA will serve as the independent evaluator for Children’s Literacy Initiative’s five-year intervention, Integrating Curriculum Development and Professional Development for Kindergarten Readiness. Through this project, which is funded by the federal Education Innovation and Research program,…

An Evaluation of Congreso de Latinos Unidos’ Exito Program at Kensington CAPA High School

RFA is partnering with Congreso de Latinos Unitos to evaluate its Exito program at Kensington CAPA High School in Philadelphia. Exito uses a multi-pronged approach to provide case management and after-school programming to students at…

Examining Credit Transfer from Juvenile Justice Facilities to the School District of Philadelphia

As juveniles transition out of disciplinary facilities, it’s critically important to ensure that they receive credit for any school work they’ve completed.  RFA recently received support from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to examine the…

Providing Policy Guidance and Support to Increase Student Success in Higher Education

RFA is partnering with postsecondary institutions in five states to improve the state policy context and conditions necessary to improve student retention and graduation.  This two-year project includes state-level policy scans, as well as assessments…

The Philadelphia Education Research Consortium (PERC)

The Philadelphia Education Research Consortium—or PERC—was launched in August 2014 as an innovative partnership designed to provide research and analyses on some of the city’s most pressing education issues. This partnership was forged among the…

Career and Technical Training in Juvenile Justice Facilities: Increasing the Capacity of a Statewide Network to Make Evidence-Based Decisions

RFA engaged in a partnership with the Pennsylvania Academic Career and Technical Training Alliance (PACTT) to support its efforts to develop a data collection system for PACTT facilities. PACTT is a voluntary network of juvenile…

Examining Reforms in Postsecondary Student Placement Policies

For several years, RFA has been examining how postsecondary systems and institutions have reformed their approach to student placement in first-year classes. Until recently it was common practice to place students based on a cut…

Tracking the Implementation and Success of Academically-Oriented After-School Programs: 21st Century Grants

The 21st Century grant program of the U.S. Department of Education supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. RFA…

The Pennsylvania Clearinghouse for Education Research: Translating Research and Analysis for Education Policymakers

The Pennsylvania Clearinghouse for Education Research–or PACER–is designed to inform state education policy discussions through rigorous, objective research; regular policy briefs; and research-based commentaries in leading media outlets statewide.

Publications of General Interest

RFA occasionally publishes work on varied topics of general interest that do not fall under one project or area of focus.