New Study Finds City Year Schools 2 to 3 Times More Likely to Show Improved Student Performance

PSA recently completed a new study assessing the impacts of City Year’s Whole School Whole Child (WSWC) model on the performance of 150 schools—in 22 cities and 17 states—that partnered with City Year in 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14. City Year is an education-focused nonprofit organization that partners with public schools to help keep students in school and on track to graduate. See the full report here and its recent coverage in EdWeek here.

Evaluation of the Principal Pipeline Initiative

A 2015 PSA report for The Wallace Foundation details how six urban school districts are beginning to build larger pools of strong principal candidates, revamp principal hiring and placement, and effectively evaluate and support new principals. The report, Building a Stronger Principalship: Districts Taking Charge of the Principal Pipeline, is the third in a multi-year evaluation conducted by PSA and RAND.

STEM Teacher Leader Program Analysis and Support

With SRI International, PSA is participating in a two-year project on teacher leadership in K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The project, for the U.S. Department of Education, will clarify the characteristics of teacher leader programs, identify challenges and opportunities for the field, and facilitate activity that moves the field forward. After analyzing programs and gaps in the field of STEM teacher leadership, the team will convene experts—including policymakers, researchers, program leaders, and practitioners—to define and advance strategies for improvement. The team will then facilitate Research Action Clusters of experts to investigate practical issues in STEM teacher leadership, identify lessons for the field, and develop action plans.

Study of Emerging Teacher Evaluation Systems

Comprehensive teacher evaluation systems are a core element in the current federal strategy for improving elementary and secondary education. On behalf of the U.S. Department of Education, PSA recently completed a study of the design and early implementation of high-stakes teacher evaluation systems in eight local school districts. The study is intended to help other districts and states learn from the experiences of these eight districts and apply the lessons to their own work in teacher evaluation and support. The exploratory analyses of district experiences may also help inform future research on the effects of teacher evaluation systems on teacher professional practice and student performance.

PSA conducts high-quality evaluation, research, and policy analysis to improve decisions in education and youth development.

NAA Quality Conversations: Evaluation

PSA Managing Director Christina Russell was the featured speaker in a recent National Afterschool Assocation (NAA) Quality Conversation, discussing the role of evaluation in promoting program improvement with NAA President and CEO Gina Warner. In this podcast, Christina describes how a well-designed evaluation can help programs learn and improve at each stage of their development, by identifying strengths and areas for growth in implementation, intentional aligning measures with the program's mission and activities, and as part of a continuous reflection process. Listen to the podcast here.

Partnership for Afterschool Education Workshops

PSA has been invited to present two workshops at the Partnership for Afterschool Education annual city-wide conference in New York City, which provides professional development and learning opportunities for afterschool practitioners, leaders, and policymakers. In one workshop, Christina Russell and the Senior Director of Research at the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) will co-facilitate a workshop for program leaders on how to be a data-driven program by maximizing the use of existing data, rather falling into a common trap of collecting too much data. In a second workshop, Colleen McCann will lead an interactive session on best practices in social-emotional learning in afterschool programming, based on findings from PSA's recent study in DYCD's elementary grades COMPASS programs.

Evaluation of BGCA Great Futures in Science

Out-of-school time (OST) programs are well positioned to enhance students’ Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) skills, increase their interest in STEM fields, and increase their engagement in learning overall. Staff from PSA are currently conducting an evaluation of a component of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Great Futures in Science Programs. Through the use of Club member surveys, interviews with Club program and administrative staff, and observations of program activities, evaluation team members are assessing the implementation and outcomes of the Ready for Robotics and RoboTech programs in operation at approximately 20 Clubs nationwide. The study is intended to help BGCA understand which factors facilitate or impede the successful implementation of STEM programming in the Club setting.