Rigorous Research

We provide formative, early-stage research, as well as summative evaluations of learning outcomes and experiences. Our rigorous research helps clients to develop and evaluate products and programs that support engaged learning, by identifying trends, determining strengths and weaknesses, and offering feedback and recommendations.

Our quantitative and qualitative research methods are based on academic models, market research strategies, and field experience, and we often combine qualitative and quantitative research methods to achieve optimal levels of depth and breadth. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your project with you and to provide more information about our tailored services. Please Contact Us to schedule a free 30-minute Q&A session with a consultant.

Selected Projects Include

  • Teacher Practice Networks

    In collaboration with WestEd’s Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, Rockman et al conducted a quantitative survey of more than 12,000 teachers working with thirty-six professional development organizations that received grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The survey examined changes in K-12 teachers’ understanding and implementation of new state standards, as well as the types of professional development supports that teachers found most effective for increasing their understanding and improving their practice.

  • 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
  • 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.

  • Genetic Science Learning Center (GSLC) at University of Utah

    Since 2006, REA has worked with the University of Utah’s Genetic Science Learning Center (GSLC) on evaluation projects for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), conference presentations, and peer-reviewed publications. Our collaborations have included conducting randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate the impact of high school curriculum supplements on cell biology and epigenetics, and documenting the process of curriculum and assessment development for a National Science Foundation Discovery Research K-12 project on evolution and common ancestry. REA and the GSLC co-authored a paper on randomized controlled trials and a primer on instrument development. They have co-presented on evaluation and educational research topics, such as mixed-methods designs, program implementation and assessment development, at the National Institutes of Health’s Science Education annual meetings.

  • The Big Read

    In collaboration with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockman et al conducted several studies to gauge the effectiveness of a free large-scale distribution of Big Read Audio Guides to 14,000 public libraries around the country. Rockman conducted a 19-month study of The Big Read to learn more about how communities held a Big Read—what books they chose, what partners they enlisted, what promotional and programming strategies they devised, what NEA resources they used, and what audiences they reached. The study, based on data from over 300 communities and 36 case studies over 3 grant cycles, explored the project’s success in its goal of restoring reading to the center of American culture. The mixed-methods study included feedback forms from Big Read events, surveys of participants and grantees, reviews of grantee reports required by the project, and tabular data on attendance, circulation, and partnerships from Arts Midwest.

  • ReadWorks

    Rockman et al has conducted several studies investigating the implementation and impact of ReadWorks‘ curriculum and teacher training materials, which are designed to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement in reading comprehension. A primary goal of the work has been to understand educator engagement with RW training resources and its influence on making instructional shifts in English language arts and literacy that are required by the Common Core State Standards. REA’s impact study investigated potential improvements in student achievement and teacher practice, beliefs, and knowledge through classroom observations, teacher interviews and surveys, and student assessment data in three elementary schools. REA has also conducted analyses of Google Analytics (GA) data, Drupal content management system (CMS) reports, and customer relationship management (CRM) data to describe digital resource distribution, concentration, use, and saturation or growth patterns.

  • West Virginia Department of Education: ED PACE

    The Educational Development for Planning and Conducting Evaluations (ED PACE) was a three-year research project funded by the U.S. Department of Education to develop, implement, and refine a set of research tools and methods that would enable project personnel at the state and local level to compare student outcomes and achievement data using a quasi-experimental design. The focus of this study was the West Virginia Virtual School Spanish 1A and 1B courses at the middle school level. These courses provide rural students an opportunity to study a foreign language at sites that would not otherwise be able to offer foreign language. For this project, it was necessary to develop and validate a Spanish Proficiency Assessment to use as the outcome measure to compare the Virtual Spanish program with face-to-face Spanish classes.