Efficacy Studies and Research
95% of K-12 administrators say that an external evaluation of the impact of a learning intervention on student achievement and/or teacher effectiveness is an important component in their decision-making on whether or not to use that product, resource or model in their classrooms.
Almost two-thirds of national administrators identify this type of 3rd party efficacy research as very important.
(Speak Up 2019/20 national findings)
Since 2007, Project Tomorrow has leveraged our in-depth knowledge and expertise in education and research practices to design and develop highly customized evaluation, feedback and efficacy studies for school districts, companies, nonprofit organizations, museums and foundations who want to understand the impact of particular learning interventions on student outcomes and teacher effectiveness. In the past 13 years, we have been completed over 50 efficacy studies in both K-12 and higher education utilizing a variety of study designs including using experimental, quasi-experimental, secondary data analysis, and case study methodologies. In addition, we are regularly consulted to provide input into the validity of the research practices of other organizations and have been an external evaluator on several large grant funded projects.
Our approach to this work reflects not only our understanding of the education environment, but also a realism around how efficacy study outcomes can influence and inform decisions around educational practices and new initiatives. While we highly value our research activities that have revealed new insights or stimulating new discussions about education such as through our National Science Foundation grants, we are increasingly interested in the tangible utility of efficacy research to instigate real changes in education such as changes in instructional practices that impact students’ lives directly, changes in how decisions are being made in a school or district, changes in how new initiatives are funded, or changes in how a product is designed or marketed for example. With that focus in mind we start each new study project with these three critical questions for our partners who have engaged us in this work:
- What do you want to learn from this study?
- Why is this important to you and your district, organization or company?
- How will you use the resulting information?
The first question, “what do you want to learn from this study,” constitutes the research questions typically found in most studies. Unfortunately, too many evaluation, feedback and efficacy studies only base their research design on the answers to that first question. We believe that is insufficient, especially when we are examining new learning models or solutions, particularly in the digital space. The current learning environment is highly dynamic and thus understanding the “why this is important” and “how will you use the results” questions are more important than ever. Equally important is the timeliness of having the research results. Our innovative methodology values the criticality of having timely results that can be acted up, especially when it impacts students’ learning experiences.
A common outcome from many of our studies is a public-facing report or white paper. Several of those study reports are available in the publications section of our website.
If you would like to learn more about our approach to evaluation, feedback and efficacy studies, please contact Dr. Julie A. Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow (email@example.com or 949-609-4661). We will be happy to talk with you about your needs for research and how our assets can support your goals in a cost-effective and timely manner.