Publications

Unequal Access to Educational Opportunity in High School: A National Analysis of the Civil Rights Data Collection

The United States is plagued by large disparities in life outcomes between racial and ethnic groups. Researchers have documented how gaps in outcomes are related to gaps in access to opportunity, both in education and…

Unequal Access to Educational Opportunity Among Pennsylvania’s High School Students

Pennsylvania’s students consistently score above the national average on overall student achievement. However, the state’s achievement gaps between White students and Black and Hispanic students are consistently among the worst in the country, even when…

Six Lessons to Facilitate Deep Ownership of Ambitious Instructional Reforms

In partnership with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, RFA has been studying Philadelphia schools’ take-up of an instructional reform that has demonstrated positive impacts on teacher knowledge and student learning in math. The…

Affordability, Access, Success: A Framework for Examining Statewide College Promise Programs

Are statewide college Promise programs an effective way to increase college access and success? It's hard to say.  While these programs are becoming more common, they vary widely along a number of dimensions.  RFA's new…

Statewide College Promise Programs: Balancing Affordability, Access, and Student Success

State-level postsecondary policymaking is daunting. Policymakers navigate through myriad fiscal, political, and ideological constraints and opportunities as they strive to address pressing state concerns or goals. While researchers and advocates may point to “perfect” policy…

The Case of Delaware’s SEED Scholarship: A Well-Established but Lesser-Known Promise Program

Research for Action has studied statewide Promise programs since 2017, with in-depth analysis in four states—Delaware, Nevada, Oregon, and Tennessee. Our research in these states includes an extensive review of legislative and policy documents; 146…

The Case of Oregon Promise: An Early Adopter Focused on Broadening Access

Research for Action has studied statewide Promise programs since 2017, with in-depth analysis in four states—Delaware, Nevada, Oregon, and Tennessee. Our research in these states includes an extensive review of legislative and policy documents; 146…

The Case of Nevada Promise: Promise Replication in a Different State Context

Research for Action has studied statewide Promise programs since 2017, with in-depth analysis in four states—Delaware, Nevada, Oregon, and Tennessee. Our research in these states includes an extensive review of legislative and policy documents; 146…

The Case of Tennessee Promise: A Uniquely Comprehensive Promise Program

Research for Action has studied statewide Promise programs since 2017, with in-depth analysis in four states—Delaware, Nevada, Oregon, and Tennessee. Our research in these states includes an extensive review of legislative and policy documents; 146…

Equity-Focused Charter School Authorizing Toolkit

Providing high-quality and equitable learning opportunities should be a primary goal of all schools and school systems. Charter schools comprise the most steadily growing sector of Pennsylvania’s public education system, now home to over 160…

Updating Pennsylvania’s Special Education Funding Formula

The goal of state special education funding should be to equitably distribute funds that are adequate for all schools to meet their legal obligation to provide a free and appropriate public education to students with…

Making It Work: Examining the Status of Non-Traditional Child Care in Pennsylvania

As the number of jobs that require non-traditional work schedules (evenings, weekends, and overnight) increases, families’ need for child care during non-traditional hours has also grown. An estimated more than 150,000 Pennsylvania families with young…

Making It Work: Bibliography and Technical Appendix

A bibliography and suggestions for further reading, as well as the technical appendix to accompany Making It Work: Examining the Status of Non-Traditional Child Care in Pennsylvania.

Investing So Schools Work

Recognizing the need for new estimates on how much school funding is adequate for Pennsylvania school districts, Research for Action commissioned an independent project based on the research of national school funding experts, Picus Odden…

Trauma-Informed Schools in Pennsylvania: Aligning Expansion with High-Quality Implementation

Recent momentum to develop a trauma-informed education system provides an important opportunity for Pennsylvania schools. About two out of every three school-age children are likely to experience at least one traumatic event, such as abuse, neglect,…

Afterschool Programs: A Review of Evidence Under the Every Student Succeeds Act

Afterschool Programs: A Review of Evidence Under the Every Student Succeeds Act reviews research from 2000 to 2017 and finds 128 afterschool programs with research that meets the requirements of ESSA’s top three tiers. Of…

Afterschool Evidence Guide: A Companion to A Review of Evidence Under the Every Student Succeeds Act

The Afterschool Evidence Guide, a companion to Afterschool Programs, provides detailed, individual descriptions of the afterschool programs with evidence that meets the research requirements of ESSA’s top three tiers. The guide also includes summaries of…

Research Brief: Measuring the Effects of Outcomes-Based Funding on Certificate Production: Challenges, Inconsistencies and Recommendations for Future Research

Outcomes-based funding (OBF) has become an increasingly common tool for states seeking to improve student outcomes, and the inclusion of certificates in OBF policies has been subject to considerable scrutiny. But studying the effects of OBF…