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Research that Matters

Education Matters, Inc., a not-for-profit, tax-exempt firm located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was incorporated in October 1984. For the past twenty-one years, members of the firm have conducted qualitative evaluations and applied research studies pertinent to issues of school reform, teaching, learning, and learning to teach. Members of the firm are particularly interested in pursuing studies that help improve schooling for students who are not well-served in our public schools.

Education Matters designs and implements evaluations that can be used to strengthen teaching and learning and other aspects of educational practice and school reform. To this end, our evaluations include close attention to instructional and leadership capacity-building and involve educators who work at all levels of the schools and school systems. We strive to be responsive to our funders' need for information, while keeping in mind that the primary audience for our written reports and other forms of feedback is the set of educational practitioners who are trying to improve teaching, learning, and administrative practice.

NEW from Education Matters: 

Professional Development in Jewish Day Schools

The Jewish Theological Seminary's Melton Research Center for Jewish Education with support from the AVI CHAI Foundation launched the Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks Pilot Project on June 30, 2003. The Project was designed to enable Community, Conservative and Reform day schools to enhance the teaching and learning of Tanakh (the five books of the torah, the prophets, and the canonized writings).  Now nearing the end of its seventh year and funded to support another cohort of schools in the 2010-1011 school year, the Project is no longer a pilot; it is a well-established, well-designed, standards-based professional development program.

Education MattersŪ has been evaluating the Jewish Day Schools Standards and Benchmarks Project since its inception.  Our reports have documented its development and growing sophistication as high quality professional development. The three evaluation reports we are posting provide readers with an opportunity to examine the benefits and challenges of using standards and benchmarks to improve teaching and learning in Jewish Day schools, in contexts and content areas different than those found in the public schools and absent the link between standards and benchmarks and standardized tests. The evaluation reports also provide readers involved with Day schools or other schools with an opportunity to consider the benefits and challenges of applying the approaches known as “teaching for understanding” and “backwards curriculum design” to a content area and set of schools quite different from those that are currently the focus of these approaches. Education MattersŪ will complete a final, longitudinal report on the Project this summer based on data collected during the 2009-2010 school year that we will then post on our website.

The Tanakh Standards and Benchmarks Project:  What We Have Learned About Implementation and Impact:  2004-2008, November 2009. This report summarizes the rationale for the Project as well as its design, implementation, and impact during its first four years.

Final Tanakh Evaluation Report: 2007-2008, July 2008. This report is a complete evaluation of the Project during the 2007-2008 school year and includes the data on which the summary report was based.

Final 2005-2006 Evaluation Report: Tanakh Standards and Benchmarks Project, July 2006. This report describes the early design and implementation of the Tanakh Educator Consultant (TEC) role – an instructional coaching role designed to support Project implementation at the schools. The report is referenced in the previous two reports.

Literacy Coaching in the Boston Public Schools

Collaborative Coaching and Learning in Literacy: Implementation at Four Boston Public Schools, January 2006. During the 2005-2006 school year Education Matters completed four case studies and a cross-site analysis of Boston's collaborative coaching model. This report highlights the factors that contribute to and detract from high quality implementation.