Publications

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…

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…

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…

Students Experiencing Homelessness in Pennsylvania: Under-Identification and Inequitable Enrollment

Housing instability and homelessness are highly detrimental to children and youth, and the effects often linger long after the experience itself. Students who have experienced homelessness are more likely to drop out of school and,…

Children’s Literacy Initiative’s Blueprint for Early Literacy: Year 2 Evaluation Report

Research for Action’s Year Two evaluation report indicates that most lead teachers demonstrated high fidelity to the key elements of the Blueprint approach in the classroom, though some teachers experienced issues related to differentiating instruction…

Designing for Engagement: The Experiences of Tweens in the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youth Arts Initiative

A 2013 Wallace-commissioned report pointed to 10 principles that small, high-quality, arts-focused youth organizations appear to share. Four years later, RFA's investigation into Wallace's Youth Arts Initiative showed that the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), a multi-faceted…

Detroit-Area Early Childhood Workforce Study

Research shows that process quality in early childhood education (ECE) programs—specifically teacher–child interactions—is the strongest predictor of children’s gains in learning and development. Due to a number of factors associated with the city’s early childhood…

The Philadelphia Community Schools Initiative: Year 1 Evaluation

New Data on Teacher Diversity in Pennsylvania

Recently, the Pennsylvania Department of Education provided new data for 2016-17 that include the race and gender of the 155,854 teachers in Pennsylvania's public schools. RFA compiled and cleaned the raw data and is providing, for…

School Performance Profiles: Still Not the Sum of a School’s Parts

Since 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has annually published School Performance Profiles (SPPs), which assign a summative academic performance score for every traditional public and charter school in Pennsylvania by rating each school…

Getting On Track to Graduation: Ninth Graders’ Credit Accumulation in the School District of Philadelphia, 2014-2016

PERC's report retroactively applies the School District of Philadelphia's new Ninth Grade On-Track Definition to two ninth-grade SDP cohorts to determine the number of students on track to graduation, the characteristics of on- and off-track students,…