Publications

RecoveringCredits in theSchool Districtof Philadelphia: High School Student Credit Recovery Utilization in 2018-19

The goal of school-year credit recovery is for students to regain lost credits and get back on track to graduation. The School District of Philadelphia offers both in person and online options for recovering failed…

State Funding to Ensure Safe and Healthy Facilities: Lessons for Pennsylvania

Long before closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Pennsylvania schools faced a different health crisis: unsafe facilities. Crumbling buildings, asbestos, lead, and other school facility health and safety risks plague many schools across Pennsylvania,…

Promise Programs: An Avenue to Expand College Affordability, Access and Success for Undocumented Students

The Trump administration has advanced several exclusionary immigration policies while postsecondary institutions and higher education systems grapple with their effects. One of these policies was the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA, which was later…

Teacher Use of Digital Tools: Results of a Survey of District Teachers in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton and Neshaminy

When schools in Pennsylvania and across the nation were suddenly shuttered in March due to COVID-19, teachers were faced with an enormous challenge: how to effectively teach and engage their students remotely when the vast…

Shortages and Inequities in the Philadelphia Public School Teacher Workforce

Educators are centrally important in the fight for racial justice and access to high-quality education. This has never been more true than in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the public acknowledges the crucial…

How Long Will it Take Me To Get to School?

Philadelphia's high school selection process is a complex one for students and their families. Under normal circumstances, transportation to school is an important factor to consider. Average public transit times can vary widely by school…

Police in Schools series

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…