Better Evidence for Better Schools

Lessons from the First Years of the Research Alliance for New York City Schools (2014)

Chelsea Farley

Since 2008, the Research Alliance for New York City Schools has been working to produce better evidence about problems facing the City’s schools—and about the effectiveness of reforms aimed at solving these problems. To date, we have undertaken more than 20 major studies. What have we learned from this work? What evidence have we amassed that can help City leaders better allocate resources, more meaningfully assess student progress and school performance, and ultimately serve students, families, and communities more effectively? And finally, what are the pressing issues in education policy and practice that we hope to tackle next?

Better Evidence for Better Schools addresses these questions by compiling key findings and lessons from the Research Alliance’s first six years, and by highlighting new areas of inquiry that we view as essential for continuing to improve schools in NYC and across the country. The brief includes lessons learned about:

  • The NYC school system as a whole,
  • Keeping students “On Track,”
  • Improving schools, and
  • Producing information that is useful for educators.

It also outlines several priorities for future research, including studies of NYC’s universal pre-K initiative; students’ transitions into college and work; organizational contexts that support effective teaching; and educational inequality.