Projects

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 Technical Assistance on ELL Policy to the Pennsylvania Department of Education: A Project of the Mid-Atlantic REL

RFA is conducting an analysis of English Language Learner policy and practice in Pennsylvania. Our work will consist of a statewide policy scan and multiple district-level case studies of best practice.

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…

Artwell’s HeartBeat Program: An Evaluation of an Elementary School Music Education Initiative

RFA serves as the evaluator for this program that provides weekly music education programming to K-5 students in Philadelphia public schools.

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;…

When the Maker Movement Meets STEAM: Evaluating Maker Jawn in Philadelphia’s Free Library

RFA is evaluating the Free Library of Philadelphia’s intergenerational STEAM initiative. This program provides creative spaces for community members in libraries in underserved neighborhoods of North Philadelphia.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program: Effects on Traditional and Incarcerated Students

RFA is conducting a preliminary evaluation of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange program, housed at Temple University. For over a decade, Inside-Out has been training university faculty to teach courses within adult correctional facilities across the…

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 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…

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…

Examining Extended Learning Opportunities in New Hampshire: A Statewide Evaluation

RFA is conducting a two-year, mixed-methods study of New Hampshire’s extended learning opportunities (ELO) initiative. Funded by the Nellie Mae Educational Foundation, this study focuses on assessing the implementation and effectiveness of ELO on college…

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…

Evaluating Teacher Engagement for the Hope Street Group

RFA conducted an evaluation for the Hope Street Group, centering on how the organization engages teacher fellows in Kentucky.

An Evaluation of Elev8: A Community Schools Model

RFA and McClanahan Associates, Inc. are conducting a multi-year, mixed-methods evaluation of Elev8, a community schools initiative funded by Atlantic Philanthropies in four sites across the country--Baltimore, Chicago, New Mexico and Oakland. As a Community…

An Examination of Youth Courts in Chester, Pennsylvania

From 2009 through 2012, the Stoneleigh Foundation supported the creation and operation of youth courts in Chester Upland School District (CUSD) through the work of Stoneleigh Fellow Gregg Volz. In 2011, the Foundation commissioned Research…

Revisiting RFA’s Theory of Change and Indicators Framework for Communities for Public Education Reform

Ten years ago, RFA worked with CPER to develop a Theory of Change and Indicators Framework that community organizing groups could use to assess their effectiveness in organizing for school reform. Much has changed over…

An Evaluation of the American Reading Company’s ACTION 100 Initiative in Elementary Schools in Camden, NJ

RFA conducted a mixed-methods evaluation of the American Reading Company's ACTION 100 initiative in more than 20 elementary schools in Camden. The study will focus on ACTION 100's impact on student achievement.

An Evaluation of How Science Leadership Academy Graduates and Preparedness for Postsecondary STEM Majors

Research for Action (RFA) was commissioned by The Franklin Institute and Science Leadership Academy in the spring of 2011 to research how the first cohort of graduates from SLA fared as they entered postsecondary institutions.…

An Evaluation of the Philadelphia Youth Network’s Student Success Centers

The Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) is overseeing 11 Student Success Centers, which are located in the city's comprehensive high schools and designed to assist students to get and stay on track to college. RFA is…

An Evaluation of the Philadelphia Youth Network’s GED-to-College Initiative

In October 2009, Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) launched a pilot GED to College (GTC) initiative. Four unique providers, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, District 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund, People for People, Inc. (PFP), and Youth…

Teacher Turnover in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The advent of the Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS) has made statewide analysis of teacher turnover possible for the first time. Using this database, RFA will examine teacher retention and turnover across the state, and…

Renaissance Schools in Philadelphia: Examining Early Implementation of a Turnaround School Model

This study, commissioned by the Accountability Review Council of the School District of Philadelphia, focuses on the early months of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's Renaissance Schools Initiative, which is designed to turn around chronically low-performing schools.…

Increasing the College Access and Retention Capacity of Community-Based Organizations

The College Access Foundation distributes scholarships to California college students via an extensive network of community-based organizations (CBOs). RFA is working with the Foundation to examine current CBO capacity to serve as community resources for…

Using Data to Inform Instruction: Examining Teachers’ Use of Data to Inform Mathematics Instruction

The Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) at the University of Pennsylvania has received a grant from the Spencer Foundation to provide professional development to teachers on data use in order to study how…

Philadelphia’s Constitution High School and its Partnerships: A Formative Evaluation

The National Constitution Center has partnered with the School District of Philadelphia to create Constitution High School. The Constitution Center hired RFA to provide formative feedback to assist the school and its partners in moving…

City Year Philadelphia: An Evaluation of Implementation and Impact

RFA is conducting evaluation research for City Year Greater Philadelphia which has two major purposes: (1) summative research uses survey and student outcome data to address project benchmarks. (2) qualitative research at three in-depth research…

Boosting Adolescent and Young Adult Literacy: An Examination of Literacy Teaching and Learning in Philadelphia’s Accelerated Schools

The School District of Philadelphia operates 13 accelerated high schools to help get off-track students (e.g., over-age, under-credited youth) back on track to graduation. This project examines literacy teaching and learning at the accelerated high…

An Evaluation of the School District of Philadelphia’s Faith Partnerships Program

The School District of Philadelphia contracted with RFA to conduct an evaluation of its Faith Partnerships program. This study explored schools' perspectives on their partnerships with religious institutions, and examined the types of supports and…

An Evaluation of the Center for Literacy’s Integrated Literacy Model at West Philadelphia High School

The William Penn Foundation funds Center for Literacy's Integrated Literacy Model (ILM) at West Philadelphia High School and commissioned RFA to conduct an implementation and impact evaluation of the model. This pilot project aims to…

An Evaluation of Congreso de Latino Unidos’ Éxito Project

Congreso de Latinos Unidos is a non-profit social service organization in Philadelphia that has a long history of working with children and youth in the Philadelphia School System as well as the juvenile justice system.…

City Year Miami: An Implementation Evaluation

RFA was contracted by City Year Miami and the Knight Foundation to conduct a two-year mixed-method evaluation study of City Year's Whole School Whole Child (WSWC) model. The program components of the WSWC model focus…

A Study of Effective Organizational Practices

The Accountability Review Council (ARC) of the School District of Philadelphia commissioned Research for Action to conduct a qualitative study designed to shed light on the practices of relatively successful Philadelphia schools serving middle and…

The Campaign for Better Schools: A Coalition to Influence New York City School Governance Supported by the Donor’s Education Collaborative in NYC

RFA evaluated a grant that the Donors' Education Collaborative (DEC) in New York City awarded to a set of advocacy and organizing groups. The grant supported the development of a coalition focused on influencing the…

School Choice in a City of Neighborhoods: Philadelphia’s Approach to High School Reform

RFA's study on high school choice builds on the "Learning from Philadelphia's School Reform" study and turns RFA's attention to the improvement of Philadelphia's high schools--a focus that was not part of the previous study…

Supporting Education Organizing for Education Equity: Communities for Public Education Reform

Southeastern Pennsylvania was selected as one of four sites for funding from Communities for Public Education Reform (CPER), a national philanthropic collaborative aimed at increasing student and parent power to affect school reform. CPER-funded groups…

A Documentation of a Collaborative High School Planning Process: Philadelphia Education Fund

The Philadelphia Education Fund and the School District of Philadelphia partnered to convene a broad-based planning process to design a five-year blueprint for the redesign of Philadelphia's high schools. The effort involved a broad range…

Need in Deed Formative and Outcome Evaluation

Need in Deed (NID), a Philadelphia-based organization, prepares and supports teachers as they integrate service-learning into their classroom practice. RFA conducted a one-year outcomes evaluation to determine the ways in which NID's work with teachers…

An Evaluation of the Philadelphia Urban Systemic Initiative (USI): School District of Philadelphia

RFA conducted a five year evaluation of USI. Supported by the National Science Foundation, USI is a systemic change initiative charged by the School District of Philadelphia to reform math, science, and technology instruction that…

Going Small: Public/Private Collaboration in Restructuring High School Education in Philadelphia

RFA examined the planning and early implementation of the School District of Philadelphia small schools strategy for high school reform, focusing especially on the significant role of public/private sector collaboration in developing and carrying out…

Which Bets Paid Off? Estimating the Effects on Middle Grades Achievement of More than a Decade of Ambitious Reform in Philadelphia

RFA worked with researchers at Johns Hopkins University who are principal investigators in an National Science Foundation-funded project to study long-term trends in mathematics and science reform in the middle grades in Philadelphia. John Hopkins…

Learning to Learn from Data: Using Data to Inform Instructional Decisions and Improve Student Learning in Low-Performing Urban Schools

RFA's study on the use of interim assessment data focused on low-performing urban elementary and middle schools that are under significant pressure to improve student achievement and to use student data to accomplish that goal.…

An Evaluation of the School District of Philadelphia’s Pilot Parent Leadership Academies (PLA)

The Parent Leadership Academy (PLA) was an initiative of the School District and the William Penn Foundation to increase parent involvement and leadership in schools and communities. PLAs were regional centers where parents could access…

An Evaluation of the Pennsylvania High School Coaching Initiative, a Classroom-Based Coaching Model

RFA conducted a comprehensive, mixed methods evaluation study designed to inform, support, and assess the Pennsylvania High School Coaching Initiative, a partnership of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Penn Literacy Network, and Foundations, Inc.…

Youth Civic Engagement in Urban School Reform

RFA is analyzing the campaigns of two Philadelphia youth organizing groups, the Philadelphia Student Union (PSU) and Youth United for Change (YUC), to transform their neighborhood high schools into small schools. RFA's study investigates how…

An Evaluation of the New Jersey Graduate-K12 Partnership: Rutgers University

RFA evaluated a partnership between Rutgers University and surrounding school districts. In this partnership, graduate students in mathematics and science team up with middle school teachers with the goal of increasing public awareness of cutting…

An Evaluation of Metro Math: The Center for Mathematics in American Cities

MetroMath is a partnership among Rutgers, University of Pennsylvania, and City University of New York, funded by the National Science Foundation, with the goal of developing a new generation of leaders in mathematics education for…

An Evaluation of EducationWorks’ National School and Community Corps (NSCC)

NSCC is an Americorps National Service Program. Full-time NSCC participants implement academic and other support programs in public schools during the school day; they also carry out after-school activities for students, parents, and community members,…

A Study of Local Education Funds: Public Education Network (PEN)

RFA worked with PEN to continue their research on the role of Local Education Funds (LEFs) in shifting the education landscape in their communities. It provided public education stakeholders with a deeper understanding about how…

A Study of Curriculum Implementation in the Greater Philadelphia Secondary Mathematics Project (GPSMP)

RFA participated in a study of the impact of a mathematics curriculum reform in 10 districts in the Philadelphia area.

A Study of Cultural Leaders’ Reflections on Cultural Participation: Philadelphia Cultural Participation Benchmark Project

The Philadelphia Cultural Participation Benchmark Project, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, was a collaboration of the University of Pennsylvania's Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP), RFA, and Audience Insight…

An Evaluation of the Philadelphia Say Yes to Education Program (SYTE)

Say Yes to Education (SYTE) is a tuition guarantee program that provides students and families from low-income neighborhoods with college or other postsecondary training. RFA is collaborating with the SYTE staff to conduct a multi-year…

Learning from Philadelphia’s School Reform

RFA is leading "Learning from Philadelphia's School Reform," a comprehensive, multi-year study of Philadelphia's complex and radical school reform effort. RFA researchers worked with colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania, Montclair State University, Swarthmore College,…

An Exploratory Research and Evaluability Study of the Peer Academic Development Curriculum by White-Williams Scholars

RFA conducted exploratory research of the early implementation of the White Williams Scholars' Peer Academic Development (PAD) standardized curriculum. Later, during the 2004-05 school year, RFA conducted an evaluability study of this program. White-Williams Scholars…

A Formative Evaluation of Reform Initiatives in Trenton Public Schools: Trenton School District

RFA conducted a 4-year evaluation of the Trenton School District's Leadership for Education Achievement (LEAD) initiative. LEAD is a program supported by the DeWitt Wallace Foundation which builds school and district leadership capacity for the…

An Evaluation of Talent Development, a Whole-School Reform: The Philadelphia Education Fund (PEF)

The Talent Development High School is a national high school comprehensive reform model developed at Johns Hopkins University's Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk (CRESPAR). PEF, a regional partner for…

A Pilot Study of Young Children’s Mathematical Learning In and Out of School

RFA received support from the William Penn Foundation for a pilot study of the language and numeracy practices of urban elementary school children both in the classroom and at home. The aim of this project…

An Action Research Project: Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Project with the Philadelphia Schools

RFA provided the PMA education staff with a series of professional development sessions. The sessions focused on the skills and practices of program assessment and evaluation. The research focused on two Museum programs: an after-school…

Cross-City Campaign for Urban School Reform: A Study of the Contributions of Community Organizing to Urban School Reform

The Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform and RFA developed the Indicators Framework, which is being used to document the impact of community organizing for school reform. RFA has used the Indicators Framework in…

An Evaluation of the Reduced Class Size/Early Balanced Literacy Initiative (RCS/EBL): Philadelphia Education Fund (PEF)

RFA evaluated the RCS/EBL initiative designed and implemented by a partnership of PEF and the School District of Philadelphia. Full-time Literacy Intern Teachers in the early grades work alongside senior teachers. RFA examined the impact…

Action Research with Youth United for Change

YUC is a group of Philadelphia students organizing to change their high schools. RFA was asked to interview the students and adults with whom YUC worked closely and to create a summary of different perspectives…

A Study of How 8th Grade Students Understand High Standards Reforms and the Impact on Academic Engagement and Achievement: Spencer Foundation

The Spencer Foundation awarded RFA a planning grant to examine eighth grade students' school experiences and achievement as they encountered higher level mathematics courses, increased course requirements, and a newly mandated independent learning project.

A Review of Seven Parent Engagement Initiatives: The Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Annie E. Casey Foundation commissioned RFA to produce the booklet Strong Images and Practical Ideas: A Guide to Parent Engagement in School Reform. This guide reviews seven different but complementary programs, supported by the…

Twenty Years of Reflection and Action: Lessons from an Exemplary Urban Professional Development Group

This project examined the work of one exemplary teacher network, the Philadelphia Teachers' Learning Cooperative (PTLC). Funded jointly by the MacArthur/Spencer Professional Development Research and Documentation Program, this study investigated effective and adaptive forms of…

An Evaluation of the Keystone Science Network (KSN): Franklin Institute Science Museum

RFA conducted a three-year evaluation of the KSN, a project of The Franklin Institute of Philadelphia. KSN's goal is to create a professional learning community in eastern Pennsylvania, which promotes the implementation of standards-based K-8…

An Evaluation of Philadelphia’s Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP): School District of Philadelphia

GEAR UP is a national initiative whose major goal is to increase significantly the proportion of low-income students successfully continuing their education at institutions of higher education. RFA worked in partnership with the School District…

An Evaluation of MicroSociety, an Experiential Whole-School Reform Model: MicroSociety, Inc.

RFA conducted a three-year evaluation of MicroSociety and examined the impact of the project as a comprehensive school reform model. MicroSociety is a whole school reform model in which teachers, students, parents, and community partners…

An Evaluation of the Partners for Youth Program: American Red Cross

The American Red Cross's Partners for Youth program matches a major service organization with Philadelphia middle schools to provide an opportunity for young adolescents to explore goals, values, and community needs as they engage in…

An Evaluation of Science All Around Us: Please Touch Museum

Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum developed and distributed science kits, prepackaged materials and activities for pre-schoolers and provided professional development for preschool teachers through a grant from the National Science Foundation. RFA helped the Please Touch…

An Evaluation of Family Literacy Initiatives

From 1997-2000, RFA conducted an evaluation of two projects sponsored by PNC Bank to create educational partnerships between four elementary schools in Philadelphia's Norris Square neighborhood and parents/community members. The PNC supported programs were the…

A Study of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA): The Logan Square Neighborhood Association and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The Logan Square Neighborhood Association in Chicago was guided by its Holistic Plan which includes improving local public schools, developing youth leadership, enhancing neighborhood safety, maintaining affordable housing and revitalizing the local economy. RFA was…

A Capacity Building Project with Art Educators: National Arts and Education Consortium (NAEC)

NAEC, funded by the Getty Foundation and the Annenberg Foundation, sought to catalyze and support whole school reform through an integrated approach to arts education. Each of NAEC's six regional centers provided leadership and technical…

An After-School Literacy and Leadership Development Program for Girls: Sisters Together in Action Research (STAR)

STAR was an after-school literacy and leadership development program for low-income early adolescent and teenage girls (ages 9-18) in North Philadelphia. The program brought together groups of girls to design and conduct action research in…

A Study of College Learning Communities: Temple University

The Learning Communities program at Temple University aimed to improve the first semester experience and the retention of Temple freshmen. RFA investigated Learning Communities in three different schools within the university; seeking to understand how…

An Evaluation of Parent Councils at Five Sites Across the Country: National Urban League

RFA examined the establishment of five new Urban League Parent Councils across the country.

An Evaluation of the Regional Environmental Education Program Middle School and High School Curriculum: Schuylkill Valley Nature Center

An evaluation of the Regional Environmental Education Program (REEP) developed by the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education (SCEE) to promote awareness of environmental issues among schoolchildren. An analysis of data from the 1995-1996 school year…

An Evaluability Assessment of the National Writing Project: National Writing Project (NWP)

The National Writing Project received a grant from The Carnegie Foundation for the purpose of taking stock of itself as a national organization and considering the role that evaluation might play in furthering the NWP's…