Two reports, a new study, a paper recently released by PSA and its research sponsors, and a research brief highlight findings on an academic after-school counseling program, a literacy program aimed at youth in rural communities, an initiative to strengthen preparation and support for school leaders, states' capacity to administer Title I, and lessons learned about improving the organizational capacity of nonprofits operating Out-of-School Time programs for youth.

Evaluation of the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Scholars Program

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) is a nonprofit organization based in New York City that administers the Scholars Program. The SEO Scholars Program is an academic after-school counseling service that aims to help low-income public high school students gain admission to and graduate from competitive colleges.

In the first evaluation of the program, PSA compared the high school academic outcomes and college enrollment of SEO Scholars to the corresponding high school academic outcomes and college enrollment of a group of similar students. The evaluation found that SEO Scholars outperformed matched comparison students by statistically significant margins on most outcome measures used in the evaluation, including students’ grade-point average, type of high school diploma earned, SAT scores, and the selectivity of the colleges they attended. You'll find the report here.

Measurement of Literacy Growth in Save the Children's Rural Literacy Programs

At the request of Save the Children, U.S. Programs, PSA is evaluating the participation and literacy achievement of targeted children in the organization's literacy programs, which Save the Children implements in rural communities across the country. PSA has collected and reported on participation and outcome data in each of the first eight years of program operation. The evaluation found that the literacy programs served a population of children whose average reading skills were significantly below grade level and that those served received Save the Children literacy services on a frequent, consistent basis. It also found that participants improved their literacy skills significantly over the course of the program period, moving closer to grade-level performance and to a greater extent than did similar students in the same schools who did not participate in the program. The report of the evaluation of programs in the 2010-11 school year is now available here.

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

Evaluation of the Principal Pipeline Initiative

A new 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: Six Districts Begin the Principal Pipeline Initiative, is the first of several in a multi-year evaluation conducted by PSA and the RAND Corporation.

PSA participated in a conference to consider options for improving Title I under the impending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Co-sponsored by the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the conference, "Tightening Up Title I," generated seven papers offering outside-the-box strategies for strengthening the decades-old program. PSA's paper focused on states' administrative and funding capacity to administer Title I. You'll find the paper here.

PSA conducted an evaluation of the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development’s Strengthening Our Core pilot initiative. The initiative is designed to improve the organizational capacity of nonprofits operating Out-of-School Time programs for youth. The research brief summarizes lessons learned about the capacity-building needs of youth-serving nonprofits, strategies for effective implementation of comprehensive capacity-building services, and the short-term and sustained impacts of capacity-building on nonprofits. The brief also presents evaluation-based recommendations for funders of capacity-building initiatives, technical assistance providers, and nonprofit organizations seeking capacity-building assistance.