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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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…

Detroit-Area Early Childhood Workforce Report

Through this project, Research for Action will assess the early child education workforce in the Detroit area. The purpose of this report is to provide local Head Start programs with actionable research to demonstrate the…

State and Local College Promise Programs: Examining Policy and Practice

Research for Action (RFA), in partnership with University of Pennsylvania’s Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (Penn AHEAD), has launched a multi-year research project that will examine how state and local college promise programs vary…

Evaluating Philadelphia’s Community Schools Initiative

RFA was selected as the external evaluator for Philadelphia's Community Schools initiative, a hallmark of Mayor Jim Kenney's education agenda. The initiative provides a comprehensive set of social services and supports for schoolchildren and communities.…

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

Students who have not learned to read by the time they enter fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school, and this risk is even greater for low-income children. In 2017,…

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”…

Early Literacy Instruction and Pre-K Curriculum in Philadelphia

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

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…

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…

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…

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…

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 six states. This mixed-methods evaluation includes a policy analysis to develop a nuanced picture of the parameters of OBF in each state;…

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…

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…

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.