Our Research

Our Projects

Massachusetts Charter Public School Association - Capacity Building Network

We were evaluation partners with the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association (MCPSA) as they were developing a system to support the education of students with disabilities and English Learners in Charter School Contexts. This three year project was supported by a National Leadership Activities grant to the MCPSA from the federal Department of Education. We provided developmental evaluation support to the organization as they worked to provide effective professional learning for school professionals. We provided a summative evaluation report at the conclusion of the project.

  • Sharon F. Rallis, Director, PI
  • Rachael B. Lawrence, Assistant Director
  • Megan Grant, Graduate Project Assistant
  • Evangeline Ambat, Graduate Project Assistant
  • Karen Harrington, Assistant Director of Center for Youth Engagement


We were contracted by the National Education Association to evaluate the effectiveness of a skills-and-knowledge based salary schedule, developed collaboratively by the Portland Education Association and Portland Public Schools. This salary schedule, called PLBSS locally, linked salary advancement to participation in professional learning activities. These professional learning activities could be college classes, programs developed by teachers in the district, book groups, and independent studies; each activity must link directly to the teacher’s instructional position. The goal of the program was to strengthen the quality of the teaching force, while providing financial incentive for working in Portland Public Schools. Our initial evaluation found evidence that the program was meeting both goals. A second funded project investigated the potential linkage between participation in PLBSS with improved student academic achievement. We examined four schools, selected collaboratively with the district and union, to study the relationship between PLBSS participation, teacher learning, and student achievement. Our initial findings implied a likely connection, although some forms of professional learning appeared to have a stronger effect than others.

  • Sharon F. Rallis, Director, PI
  • Andrew Churchill, Assistant Director
  • Rachael B. Lawrence, Graduate Project Assistant
  • Lisa A. Keller, Co-investigator
  • Amanda Kimbell, Graduate Project Assistant

Collaboration for Special Education in Institutional Settings

We were contracted by the Hampshire Educational Collaborative (now the Collaborative for Educational Services) to evaluate the state of collaboration between the state contract holders for Special Education in Institutional Settings (SEIS) and the contract holders serving various state agencies that have students receiving their educations in an institutional setting. Initially contracted to work with SEIS in the Department of Mental Health settings, our research expanded to include the Department of Public Health Hospital School setting.

  • Sharon F. Rallis, Director, PI
  • Andrew Churchill, Assistant Director
  • Rachael B. Lawrence, Graduate Project Assistant
  • Jason Schweidt, Graduate Project Assistant
  • Nina Papadopoulous, Graduate Project Assistant
  • Helen-Anne Ireland, Graduate Project Assistant
  • Louise Bahry, Graduate Project Assistant
  • Colleen Smith, Graduate Project Assistant

Core Research Areas

  • Program evaluation
  • Technical assistance
  • Professional development
  • Developmental evaluation