School Reform and After-School Evaluation

Our expertise in school improvement research, combined with our Self-Study surveys and data analysis for middle schools and high schools, makes CPRD a leader in the field of school reform. CPRD also has extensive experience in evaluating the effectiveness of after-school programs and evaluating the experiences of schools implementing state-mandated social and emotional learning standards in the classroom. Our services include: (1) Surveying students, teachers, administrators, and parent in school settings; (2) Using local school data to guide and measure improvement planning; (3) Incorporating data into planning and monitoring improvement; and (4) Assisting schools and programs to adhere to best practices and state standards.

A Data Collection System for School Improvement Planning

Schools across the country are continually working to improve the educational experiences and success of students. At CPRD, we think the best way to ensure improvement is with an ongoing school improvement plan, which allows each school to use its own data to make decisions about the improvement process.

CPRD created the School Improvement Self-Study so middle schools and high schools could gather reliable data about their instructional and classroom practices and progress in order to improve the teaching and learning process. Our Self-Study surveys were tested and validated in over 1,000 schools across the country. Schools are taught to use the Self-Study to help examine their own achievement data by reviewing the underlying conditions, behaviors, and practices that influence achievement.

CPRD's analyses of state and regional Self-Study data-and our research on linking school reform practices and programs to achievement-have been widely disseminated in reports, journal articles, research chapters, and at state and national conferences, all in an effort to contribute to the field of school reform. We have published research on such topics as comprehensive school reform models, interdisciplinary teaming and classroom practices, teacher certification and professional development, school leadership, parent involvement. Click here to see some of our publications and presentations derived from Self-Study data.

Illinois Steps AHEAD/GEAR UP: Preparing Students for Success in College

For students to succeed in postsecondary education, they must be equipped with academic skills. Illinois Steps AHEAD, funded through the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services, works to increase the number of low-income students who apply, are accepted to and succeed in college. The program provides after-school services to middle and high school students such as tutoring, career exploration, and college preparation activities. Supports for parents include college visits and financial planning workshops. CPRD is the research and evaluation partner and provides data collection and analysis services for the project. CPRD staff work closely with Illinois Steps AHEAD administrators to use the information collected for program planning and improvement.

National Forum's i3 Middle-Grades Leadership Development Project

CPRD serves as the research partner and evaluator for the U.S. Department of Education's $3 million Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) grant awarded to the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform in 2013. The Middle-Grades Leadership Development (MLD) Project is focused on leadership for middle grades schools (grades 5-8) and works with 12 rural and urban middle grades schools in Michigan and Kentucky using the Schools to Watch Leadership Matters model to increase equitable access to quality leaders so students are on-track for graduation.  This goal of MLD is to improve outcomes for young adolescents by equipping middle-grades leaders with the skills, knowledge, supports, and resources they need to change and inspire their school communities.  In addition to the National Forum, project partners include the California League of Middle Schools, the Kentucky Middle School Association, and Institute or Excellence in Education in Michigan.

National Forum's i3 Schools to Watch Transformation Network Project

CPRD serves as the evaluation team for the U.S. Department of Education's $5 million Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) grant awarded to the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. The National Forum's project works with 18 low-performing middle-grades schools in three states (Illinois, California, and North Carolina) to implement the Forum's innovative "Schools to Watch" program using a multi-layered system of support and a comprehensive set of school improvement strategies to improve student achievement. After identifying specific areas for improvement, the program assigned a coach to work with each school. CPRD uses qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate how well the program closes the achievement gap for high-need students. The evaluation team also works collaboratively with project leaders and schools to demonstrate best practices for data-based decision making. In addition to the National Forum, project partners include the Association of Illinois Middle-Level Schools, the California League of Middle Schools, the North Carolina Middle School Association, and the Academy for Educational Development.