Publications

Strategies for Reducing Student Absenteeism in Philadelphia

As many districts in Pennsylvania pivot to hybrid or virtual models of education in response to Covid-19, it is hard to think about what “attendance” means or how to track it. Yet attendance is more…

Responses to Covid-19 School Closures

In March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic caused schools to close for the remainder of the school year, all Pennsylvania school districts and charter schools were required to "make good faith efforts to implement continuity of…

Allegheny County Students in Foster Care

Students in foster care require additional supports from schools in order to maintain educational stability. And, in the time of COVID-19 school shutdowns, experts warn that vulnerable students such as those in foster care may…

Boosting Children’s Language and Literacy Skills Through Blueprint: An Evaluation of Children’s Literacy Initiative’s Blueprint for Early Literacy 2017 – 2019

RFA’s three-year mixed methods evaluation of Children’s Literacy Initiative’s language and literacy supports found positive impacts despite higher-than-typical teacher turnover. In pre-K centers receiving CLI supports, teachers were more able to implement effective instructional practices…

Developing a Statewide College Completion Agenda: Lessons From Tennessee

Tennessee has gained national recognition for its comprehensive strategy to increase college attainment. This report describes the development and expansion of Tennessee’s completion agenda through a set of related and interlocking policies designed to produce…

Designing Equitable Promise Programs: Research-based Considerations for State Policymakers

Statewide College Promise programs have the potential to broadly increase affordability, access, and success for students pursuing a postsecondary credential. Statewide College Promise programs also generate controversy because they encompass critical decisions about how a…

Driving Awareness, Inclusion, and Integration for Racial Equity in Postsecondary Education

To support state efforts to close postsecondary attainment equity gaps for students of color, RFA developed a framework that describes three drivers behind efforts to place racial equity at the center of postsecondary policymaking and…

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 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…

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…

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…