Independent Evaluation

Our evaluations provide clients with insightful findings to report impacts to funders and other stakeholders. We work closely with clients to create a customized evaluation plan for each project. Our goal is always to help our clients answer important questions. Sometimes that is accomplished through straightforward evaluation using qualitative and quantitative strategies, and sometimes it calls for experimental studies.

We design and conduct evaluations and research for all types of education-related organizations across informal and formal learning settings, specializing in projects that examine learning and technology. As independent researchers, we often serve as the external evaluator for grant-funded projects supported by state and federal agencies, private industry, and foundations.


External Evaluation for Grant Programs

Rockman et al has a national reputation for providing external evaluation services for projects funded by National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and NASA. We have also served as the external evaluator for numerous K-12 school reform initiatives funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

Evaluations for Private Companies, Institutions & Foundations

We have a proven track record of success designing and implementing research studies to assess emerging learning impacts and outcomes.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your project with you and to provide you with more information about our tailored services. Please Contact Us to schedule a free 30-minute Q&A session with a consultant.


Selected Projects Include

  • California Academy of Sciences

    Over a 4 year period, Rockman et al has conducted more than a dozen evaluation and research projects with the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco using onsite and online surveys, visitor intercepts, interviews, focus groups and observations with members and visitors. Evaluation projects include formative and summative evaluation of exhibits, planetarium shows, museum websites, and K-12 school field trip programs, as well as summative evaluation of teacher professional development programs, curriculum kits and evening programs for adults. REA has also delivered research studies on capacity building, institutional partnerships, and organizational development.

  • PBS Kids Transmedia Games Usability Testing

    Rockman et al has run a series of usability tests for media products developed by PBS Kids and its partners as part of the Ready To Learn initiative, including several rounds of testing in Boston, Washington DC, and Bloomington IN.

  • New Visions Accessing Algebra through Inquiry (a2i)

    The Accessing Algebra Through Inquiry (a2i) project is an i3 validation grant conducted by New Visions for Public Schools, in partnership with the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative and the New York City Department of Education. The project provides formative assessment lessons, ongoing coaching and training, and opportunities to examine student work in school-based inquiry team meetings. As the external evaluator, REA will conduct both implementation and impact studies to assess how students in a2i project classrooms perform on annual standardized achievement tests compared to matched groups of students whose teachers are not participating.

    Report: a2i narrative
  • Radiolab

    Rockman et al conducted a comprehensive evaluation of Radiolab initiatives funded as part of its “What does curiosity sound like?” project. The project included evaluation of live events, online content, Radiolab’s social media and mobile phone app, and citizen science activities. The evaluation also sought to differentiate outcomes on STEM professionals and lay-audiences, and the extent to which Radiolab programming can facilitate better communication between these two audiences.

  • Systems Approach to Green Energy (SAGE) Program

    With a grant award from the NSF IGERT program, the University of California, Berkeley’s (UCB) Systems Approach to Green Energy (SAGE) program aims to provide interdisciplinary education and training for UCB graduate students, in order to develop a workforce capable of achieving greener energy technologies. As the external evaluator of the program, Rockman et al is conducting a five-year, mixed-methods study to track progress towards and attainment of SAGE program goals. The study involves multiple questionnaires and focus groups with students and faculty, and focuses on three areas: (1) program infrastructure, (2) faculty collaboration and productivity, and (3) student expectations and experiences.

  • Youth Radio

    REA has evaluated four of Youth Radio‘s NSF-funded initiatives to provide training in science journalism and technology development to underserved young people, and to create digital media toolkits for educators. REA has triangulated data from various sources, including surveys, interviews, focus groups and observations, to document the evolution of Youth Radio’s STEM programming, and its effects on the skills, knowledge, and attitudes young adults need to produce and communicate STEM ideas.

  • Leading with Learning

    Rockman et al is the external evaluator for the U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) Development award to WestEd for the Leading with Learning (LWL) project, (formerly known as the English Learner Professional Learning (ELPL) Project). The three-year evaluation includes both a quasi-experimental impact study with matched comparison schools, and an implementation study in six California elementary schools in two districts. For the impact study, REA is using hierarchical linear modeling to compare student and teacher outcomes. Expected outcomes for students—as measured by state tests—are improved reading comprehension, speaking and listening competencies, oral and written production of English, and content understanding. Participating teachers are expected to develop greater knowledge and skills in new practices for accelerating EL students’ understanding and use of academic language. To study implementation, REA will use surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, and logs. The LWL model aims to develop teachers’ and instructional coaches’ knowledge and skills for implementing new instructional approaches that are sensitive to the language demands necessary for ELs to excel in academically and linguistically challenging content.

  • Oakland Unified School District Salad Program

    REA conducted an evaluation of the impact of a salad bar implementation at 5 schools within the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). Project evaluation included pre-implementation student surveys and interviews, lunchroom observations, and post-implementation interviews with key project stakeholders (students, teachers, and administrators). The evaluation focused on three key areas: 1) Implementation (training, staffing, promotion, availability, methods for sustainability, curricular connections), 2) Participation (methods of adoption/education, level of participation, parent/teacher/food service worker roles) and 3) Attitudes (changes in diet/nutrition-related knowledge, behavior, impact of cultural differences, food likes/dislikes, expectations, influences on food selection, etc.).

  • East Bay Center for the Performing Arts Learning Without Borders

    The East Bay Center for the Performing Arts (EBCPA) Learning without Borders (LWOB) professional development program served elementary school teachers in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. Through professional development workshops, coaching, and in-class visits from artists, the program aimed to increase the capacity and confidence of the teachers to integrate arts with other core subject areas. REA collected survey, focus group, and pre- and post-test data from the participating teachers, and this data led to important insights about the teachers’ expectations for the program, feedback about the program, perceptions of the program’s impacts, and recommendations for the program moving forward.

  • American Museum of Natural History “Our Earth’s Future”

    Rockman et al collaborated with the American Museum of Natural History to evaluate onsite and online course offerings as part of the “Our Earth’s Future” series of educational programming about climate change. Evaluation efforts included observations, surveys, and focus groups with face-to-face as well as online course participants, and in addition to examining the unique outcomes for each course offering, compared findings across programs of different lenghts and formats.

  • Astronomical Society of the Pacific Galileo Educator Network (GEN)

    With funding from NASA, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) developed the Galileo Educator Network (GEN), which prepared teacher educators nationwide to design and deliver professional development workshops on astronomy content and science practices aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). REA collected surveys and observations to describe the ways in which GEN engaged K-12 teachers and promoted the effective use of NASA-developed resources. REA presented its evaluation findings at two ASP annual meetings.

  • Water: Exploring Science in the Studio

    In collaboration with California College of the Art (CCA), Rockman et al conducted an evaluation of “Water: Exploring Science in the Studio,” including course development and delivery processes, and instructional and assessment elements. The broad objective of this project was to increase the ability of CCA students to interact with scientists within the context of a series of four design courses. REA developed and administrated online surveys to CCA art faculty and visiting science faculty who collaborated on the development and delivery of these courses.

  • NYSCI Design Lab

    REA provided formative and summative evaluation for The New York Hall of Science’s (NYSCI) Design Lab, a multi-faceted project which consists of a unique, museum-based innovation laboratory, a series of permanent onsite exhibits and teacher professional development program that supports design-based approaches to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teaching and learning. Over a three year period, REA staff conducted formative evaluation of onsite Design Lab exhibits, summative evaluation of Teacher Summer Institutes. and documented the impact of ongoing professional development through observations of participating teachers and their students when back in the classroom. REA also completed a retrospective study to assess long term impact with teacher graduates from each of program’s four cohorts. Evaluation methods included online surveys, interviews and observations.

  • Bay Area Video Coalition Bridges to STEM Careers

    REA conducted a formative and summative evaluation of Bay Area Video Coalition’s Bridges to STEM Careers, a three-year Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program Improvement Project designed to enhance the relevance of technician education in Computer Science and Multimedia. The project targeted two-year college students, their families and their college and workplace mentors. The ultimate goal of the Bridges project was to keep traditionally underrepresented and low-income students in the STEM pipeline by demystifying the process of preparing for a STEM career through internships and informational videos from past internship participants.