Over its twenty-five year history, Rockman et al has developed a strong reputation for conducting evaluations of programs designed to support literacy development in both formal and informal education spaces. We have conducted research to evaluate television and web-based series designed to support early literacy, as well as initiatives to enhance reading on a national scale. Our literacy evaluation projects have examined diversity and multicultural issues in public schools, language learning and socialization in technology-enhanced classrooms, and the use of authentic community issues for teaching language and literacy. We have also made contributions to research on English Learners in the areas of technology, curriculum and instruction, assessment, and professional development for teachers. Please explore selected examples of our literacy projects below.

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Selected Projects Include

  • 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.

  • PBS Kids: Raising Readers

    Rockman et al conducted a study of PBS Kids Island with twenty-one English-speaking children ages 3-8. The study included eight weeks of data collection including 4-6 weeks of participant journaling and analysis of computer-based log information. Specifically, we sought to learn about site usage patterns over an extended period of time, whether children found the content to be age-appropriate, fun, and accessible, and the overall appeal of the site to children. REA also conducted usability testing for the PBS Kids Raising Readers website, including versions in Spanish and English. Working with PBS contacts, Hispanic community organizations, and public libraries in three sites across the US, REA conducted more than 69 user testing sessions with parents, teachers and caregivers of children ages 2-8, focusing on children from low-income families and including bilingual teachers and caregivers of Spanish-speaking children.

  • Elmo Loves ABCs and Elmo Loves 123s

    Rockman et al worked with the Sesame Workshop to develop and administer a basic literacy and mathematics assessment for preschool-aged students in order to test outcomes of using either Elmo Loves ABC’s or Elmo Loves 123’s for a month-long period as part of the normal school-day experience. To facilitate this project, the Rockman team managed a set of 10 iPad devices (with unique copies of apps for each of 90 students in the study) and a team of 8 researchers.

  • 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.

  • Poetry Out Loud

    Rockman et al evaluated the Poetry Out Loud program’s implementation at the local, state, and national levels, and its impact on students and teachers. The Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest, sponsored by the Poetry Foundation (PF) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), is designed to revitalize the teaching of poetry in America’s classrooms. REA conducted online surveys for 51 State Arts Agencies working in partnership with the PF and NEA, participating teachers, and students who had won state poetry contests. REA also conducted interviews with various groups at the National Finals in Washington, DC. In Year 2 of Poetry Out Loud, REA used online surveys and face-to-face focus groups conducted at the National Finals to gather data on the depth and range of classroom implementation.