Educational Program Evaluation

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RAND rigorously evaluates all kinds of educational programs by performing cost-benefit analyses, measuring effects on student learning, and providing recommendations to help improve program design and implementation. Our portfolio of educational program evaluations includes studies of early childhood education, summer and after-school programs, educator pay-for-performance, programs intended to reduce educational disparities, and choice- and standards-based reforms.

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    Report

    Examining Competency-Based Education

    Aug 4, 2014

    Competency-based education meets students where they are academically, provides opportunities for choice, and awards students credit for evidence of learning, not time spent studying a subject. Researchers identify lessons for policy, partnerships, and practice regarding this approach.

Explore Educational Program Evaluation

  • Research Brief

    First Outcomes from the National Summer Learning Study

    This brief describes the near-term effects of voluntary summer learning programs provided by five urban school districts to large numbers of struggling low-income elementary students in the summer of 2013.

    Feb 13, 2015

  • Elementary school students at their lockers

    Commentary

    Reauthorizing ESEA: What We Know and Where We Should Go with School Improvement

    Federal policy should ensure that school improvement is a priority, that schools adopt proven reforms that fit the school context, and that schools and their districts are held accountable when federal resources are used for school improvement.

    Feb 11, 2015

  • Teacher helping a high school student on a computer

    Commentary

    Recommendations for ESEA Reauthorization That Support Innovation

    As lawmakers consider the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it is critical that in meeting their objectives they do not create unnecessary obstacles to the productive innovations being explored at schools, such as personalized learning.

    Jan 27, 2015

  • Students taking a test in a classroom

    Commentary

    Reauthorizing ESEA: Four Recommendations to Make Testing Work

    Will Congress be able to reauthorize ESEA in 2015? Success will depend on legislators clearing several hurdles, such as decisions regarding teacher quality, school improvement, and charter schools. And at the center of the debate remains the issue of federal requirements for testing.

    Jan 21, 2015

  • News Release

    Students Attending Summer Learning Programs Returned to School in the Fall with an Advantage in Math

    Students who attended voluntary, school district-led summer learning programs in five urban areas began the academic year with stronger math skills than their peers who did not attend the programs.

    Dec 16, 2014

  • A simple bar chart made of building blocks

    Journal Article

    Using Existing Data to Improve QRIS Effectiveness

    Through a "virtual pilot" of California's proposed quality rating and improvement system (QRIS), policymakers received valuable data to inform its design—potentially improving the effectiveness of evaluating early childhood education programs in the state.

    Dec 16, 2014

  • Six children standing in front of a chalkboard during a math lesson

    Report

    Students Who Attended Summer Learning Programs Gained an Advantage in Math

    Summer learning loss disproportionately affects low-income students and therefore likely contributes to the achievement gap between these students and their higher-income peers. Students who attended voluntary, school district-led summer learning programs in five urban areas began the academic year with stronger math skills than their peers who did not attend.

    Dec 16, 2014

  • Scientists filling test tubes in a laboratory

    Commentary

    Measuring Impact: How Australia and the UK Are Tackling Research Assessment

    The UK is the first country to attempt to allocate funding based on the wider societal impact of research, and in 2012, a subset of higher education institutions in Australia ran a small-scale pilot exercise to assess impact and understand the potential challenges of the process. What can be learned by comparing the UK and Australian approaches?

    Dec 8, 2014

  • Research Brief

    Evaluating Innovative Leader Development in the U.S. Army

    This brief summarizes an assessment of an Army program to enhance adaptability in leaders and promote innovative solutions in training for and conducting unified land operations.

    Nov 19, 2014

  • Report

    Innovative Leader Development: Evaluation of the U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Adaptive Leader Program

    This report presents the results of a systematic evaluation of the U.S. Army's Asymmetric Warfare Adaptive Leader Program.

    Nov 19, 2014

  • Offenders read and write papers inside the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary library located in the Darrington Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice men's prison in Rosharon, Texas

    Commentary

    Using Education to Stop the Prison Revolving Door

    Providing education and vocational training to inmates is a cost-effective way to reduce recidivism rates, thus shrinking prison populations and easing the strain on prison budgets. Education is far less expensive than incarceration.

    Sep 30, 2014

  • Report

    Three Essays on Education Reform in the United States

    Examines California's state education accountability reform and comprehensive reform to improve teacher and principal talent in high-poverty, low-performing schools.

    Sep 29, 2014

  • An adult classroom

    Commentary

    The State of Washington and Its Focus on Rehabilitation

    California can learn a great deal from the state of Washington, which has implemented a series of reforms focused on rehabilitation—on diverting offenders to treatment and other options and making serving time in prison the last option.

    Sep 16, 2014

  • Yes and no boxes on a clipboard

    Commentary

    If You Want Ex-Cons to Be 'Productive Members of Society,' Ban the Box

    When an inmate is released, you often hear Americans say that he's “paid his debt” and can now become “a productive member of society.” But the reality is ex-cons pay for their crimes long after sentences end. On the outside, the stigma of incarceration makes it extremely difficult to land a job.

    Sep 5, 2014

  • Instructor assisting students on computers

    Project

    RAND Competency-Based Education

    The RAND Competency-Based Education project examined pilot programs in the K-12 sector to better understand student outcomes resulting from this type of instruction, along with equity challenges that competency-based education could create or intensify.

    Aug 4, 2014

  • Research Brief

    Competency-Based Education in Three Pilot Programs: What It Is, How It's Implemented, and How It's Working

    In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extended grants to three organizations involved with competency-based education approaches. RAND examined these organizations' implementation, student experiences, and student outcomes.

    Aug 4, 2014

  • High school students with teacher in class, using laptops

    Report

    Examining Competency-Based Education

    Competency-based education meets students where they are academically, provides opportunities for choice, and awards students credit for evidence of learning, not time spent studying a subject. Researchers identify lessons for policy, partnerships, and practice regarding this approach.

    Aug 4, 2014

  • Teacher and preschool students reading outside

    Blog

    Ask Me Anything: Catherine Augustine on Summer Learning

    With summer now underway, RAND's Catherine Augustine hosted an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit, answering questions about year-round schooling, how to get the most out of summer learning programs, and more.

    Jul 3, 2014

  • group of young children in art class

    Project

    Innovative Preschool Academy Project

    RAND is helping bring evidence-based practice into Hopkins House's Innovative Preschool Academy (IPA), an early childhood education center located in Northern Virginia.

    Jun 13, 2014

  • pre-school girls drawing

    Report

    Evaluating Delaware Stars for Early Success

    As a first step in a larger study of Delaware Stars, a voluntary quality rating and improvement system for early learning and care programs, RAND researchers reviewed prior literature, examined existing data, and interviewed key stakeholders.

    Jun 9, 2014

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