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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Examining Cross-Sector Collaboration in Pittsburgh: A Mixed-Delivery System for Pre-K Education

Research for Action is working with diverse stakeholders in Pittsburgh, PA to explore current successes and challenges related to the implementation of the city’s mixed-delivery system for early childhood education programs through ongoing partnership between…

An Evaluation of Children’s Literacy Initiative’s Blueprint for Early Literacy

Research for Action is working with the Children’s Literacy Initiative to evaluate the impact of Blueprint for Early Literacy (Blueprint), a pre-kindergarten literacy curriculum supplement, on quality of instruction, teacher knowledge, and pre-K student language…

Comprehensive School Safety Initiative: Discipline in School Contexts

This 18-month, mixed-methods, exploratory study, conducted in partnership with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, will have three phases: 1) Qualitative inquiry across K-8 schools in Philadelphia; 2) Latent class analysis to identify “profiles”…

Community Schools Progress Report

Research for Action (RFA) is working in partnership with the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Education to establish and maintain a Community Schools Progress Report to be utilized as Philadelphia rolls out its Community Schools initiative.…

Early Literacy Instruction and Pre-K Curriculum in Philadelphia

This study is a three-year initiative to provide early childhood programs in Philadelphia information about what is working in their classrooms to support children’s early literacy and language development.  The research explores the links between…

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…

Evaluating Women in Natural Sciences for the Academy of Natural Sciences

RFA is serving as the evaluator for the Academy of Natural Sciences (ANS) Women in Natural Sciences (WINS) project. Since its inception in 1982, WINS has introduced more than 770 Philadelphia girls to careers in…

Evaluating the Philadelphia Academies’ All-Academy High School Model

Research for Action is partnering with Philadelphia Academies, Inc. (PAI) to evaluate the All-Academy model in two Philadelphia public high schools. PAI has served as a high school, postsecondary, and career readiness resource for nearly…

Improving Early Literacy: An Evaluation of Early Reading Matters

RFA is studying the effectiveness of the Early Reading Matters program. This initiative, which is operating in eight NYC public schools, is designed to provide professional development for teachers to improve the quality of early…

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…

Examining a Math Intervention in Philadelphia Schools: An RCT in Partnership with RAND

RFA is partnering with RAND to conduct an RCT on a math intervention in nine Philadelphia high schools. The math intervention, ALEKS, is a web-based intelligent tutoring system being used in 20 Algebra I classrooms…

STEM Training for Philadelphia Teachers: An Evaluation Funded by the National Science Foundation

RFA serves as the external evaluator for the GRASP-Teacher Partnership in Robotics Education (TPRE) project funded by the National Science Foundation. TPRE provides 6th-8th grade Philadelphia teachers a six-week summer engineering and robotics research experience…

Integrative Arts Programs in Philadelphia: An Examination of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program in Four Public Schools

RFA serves as the evaluator of an arts integration initiative launched by Philadelphia’s nationally-renowned Mural Arts Program. This two-year, mixed-methods study will identify successes, challenges and lessons learned as this initiative is implemented in four…

An Evaluation of Delaware’s Teacher Evaluation System

RFA is evaluating Delaware’s teacher evaluation system, known as the Delaware Performance Appraisal System (DPAS-II). RFA’s mixed-methods study consists of examinations of the system’s implementation and related outcomes. Data is drawn from a statewide survey…

The Education Justice Network

The Education Justice Network (EJN) is a consortium of nationally-recognized research, advocacy and policy scholars and organizations. EJN seeks to improve children’s access to high-quality education by advancing evidence-based reform models that provide alternatives to…

Expanding the Knowledge Base on State-Level Postsecondary Outcomes-Based Funding

RFA is conducting a comprehensive analysis of state-level postsecondary Outcomes-Based Funding policy in three states. This mixed-methods evaluation includes a policy analysis to develop a nuanced picture of the parameters of OBF in each state;…

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…

The Philadelphia Education Research Consortium

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…

After-School Arts Programming in the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of America: A Mixed-Methods Evaluation

RFA has partnered with McClanahan and Associates, Inc. to conduct a five-year mixed-methods evaluation of after-school arts programming in Boys & Girls Clubs funded by the Wallace Foundation. Our work provides actionable, formative feedback to…

Providing Technical Assistance to the New Jersey Department of Education

The Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center (MACC) is a federally-funded organization housed at WestEd that provides technical assistance to states as they work to improve and reform public schools. As a MACC partner, RFA works with the…

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

RFA is 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…

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…

Examining Assessment and Placement Exam Reforms in Community Colleges

Given the barrier that developmental education can present in students' timely progress to degree completion, RFA is examining assessment and placement reform efforts across five states--California, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia--and the implementation of…

Evaluating Project L.I.F.T.: A Cross-Sector Effort to Close the Achievement Gap

In 2012, RFA began a five-year, mixed methods study of Project L.I.F.T. (Leadership and Investment for Transformation), a philanthropic initiative designed to close the achievement gap in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District (CMS). Focusing on the…

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.