Our Client Partners
We are committed to working in partnership with our clients. These partnerships are grounded in our responsive staff; personalized services; and thoughtful, goal-oriented, and focused approaches to challenges. In short, our partnerships are designed to improve learning and advance student success – and that’s exactly what they do.
Edvantia is proud to have conducted research and provided services for individual schools, districts, state education agencies, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, and private companies throughout the United States.
For more information about our work and our clients, click on the map below.
In August 2012, the West Virginia Community Voices, Inc. contracted with Edvantia, Inc., to conduct a follow-up study between August 2012 and March 2013. The purpose of the original West Virginia Perinatal study, conducted in 2010, was to identify and study model curricula in perinatal health education for parents 20 years of age and under and their newborn infants. In the first phase of the original study, researchers identified the counties with the best perinatal health outcomes examining key perinatal health indicators. During the second phase of the study, researchers collected and reviewed information regarding teen reproductive and perinatal health curricula from 12 high school health and Family and Consumer Science teachers in five target counties. During this follow-up study in 2012-2013, Edvantia is expanding the focus to determine what, if any, differences exist between counties with the best and worst perinatal outcomes and how educational factors may play a role.
The Program Evaluation Center at Edvantia (PECE) recently expanded its work with colleges and universities. In 2011-12, PECE was selected by Florida International University (FIU) to serve as the external evaluator for FIU’s teacher quality grant to provide professional development to history teachers in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The evaluation services, which are designed to provide formative feedback for program improvement and summative conclusions about program outcomes, will include
- teacher knowledge assessments
- analysis of student achievement data
- lesson plan ratings
- surveys of teacher practices and attitudes
The grant is expected to continue through 2014.
Edvantia provided Keyser High School with an analysis and recommendations to improve the design and implementation of effective lesson plans and strategic teaching methods. Edvantia used classroom observations, teacher surveys, interviews, leadership conferences, and more to analyze the school’s lesson plan development. Then, based on the results of the analyses, Edvantia provided professional development for online lesson plan development using comprehensive student achievement data (classroom, interim, and summative assessments) to inform student instructional goals and to implement shared and collaborative planning across curricula.
Beginning in 2007 and continuing through 2013, Edvantia staff have conducted evaluations of two National Science Foundation Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) projects in southwestern Virginia. The original Digispired (“Digitally Inspired”) and follow up Digispired ii projects have used hands-on activities in video game design to encourage students to explore math, science, and engineering principles. The out-of-school time programs have sought to increase students’ math and science knowledge; improve attitudes towards science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields; and increase awareness of and interest in STEM careers. Edvantia has conducted mixed-method evaluations to provide formative feedback for program improvement, draw summative conclusions about outcomes, and support the research components of the grants.
Between March 2012 and May 2012, Edvantia provided evaluation consultation services to Marshall University for the SNAP-Ed project. SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition program that plays a role in helping to improve nutrition across the United States among low-income individuals. Specifically, Edvantia evaluators worked with SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education staff at Marshall to develop a logic model of the program and create the program’s research and evaluation plan.
Currently, Edvantia is conducting an evaluation of Globaloria, a social learning network where students develop knowledge and skills through game design. Edvantia is evaluating correlations between Globaloria participation and academic achievement among middle and high school students in West Virginia during Globaloria’s fourth and fifth years of operation (2010-2012). The purpose of the study is to provide additional data concerning the performance of students participating in the Globaloria pilot project in West Virginia relative to the Global21 standards.
Edvantia conducted an evaluation of the 2011 America’s Home Energy Education Challenge. The main goals of this evaluation were to investigate participants’ overall experiences and impressions about the competition and document lessons learned from the inaugural competition for program improvement. The scope included the evaluation of the usability of the materials, complexity of the processes, and quality of the final products. The mixed-methods evaluation assessed participants’ experiences and satisfactions with the program, identified the barriers and challenges for completing the competition for the purpose of program improvement, and measured the impact of the program on participating individuals (e.g., student attitude and behaviors, teacher behavior).
Between October 2011 and September 2014, Edvantia is working with the University of Kansas on the Dynamic Learning Maps project. The goal of this project is to create an alternate assessment system designed to let students with significant cognitive disabilities show what they know in ways that traditional multiple-choice tests cannot. In this project, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are extended to provide college- and career-ready standards for students who will take the alternate assessment. For the formative evaluation, Edvantia provides expertise in research and development to ensure that ongoing work remains on track and results of each task support overall project goals. The summative evaluation of this project focuses on the manifestation of two outcomes from a successful project: (1) students with severe impairments will be assessed in a valid and reliable manner using a (2) system that has demonstrated high technical quality (through passing a peer review). Using an overarching framework of quality, relevance, and usefulness, the summative evaluation focuses on measuring attainment of benchmarks and outcomes. The benchmarks for this project are the outputs specified in the logic model, including fully developed extended standards and achievement descriptors, learning maps and tasks, a functional computerized system, and educators trained to use the assessment system.
Edvantia provided School Performance Coaching and professional development through a three-year Title I School Improvement Grant focused on Whole School Reform for Fulton High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. School leaders established three areas of focus for professional development and classroom observations – whole-school instruction on academic vocabulary; the use of formative assessment to inform instruction; and the incorporation of relevant, real-life experiences to enhance learning. In the third year of the grant, the Edvantia coach provided technical assistance and training to professional learning communities (PLCs). Meeting on early-release days, these PLCs developed common assessments, reviewed data, and incorporated effective strategies aimed at improving student performance on summative assessments.
From September 2011 through July 2012, Edvantia worked with the Texans Building Robust, Innovative, and Diverse Graduate Education (TX BRIDGE) program, led by the University of Texas, Arlington. TX BRIDGE is an approach to increasing underrepresented minority (URM) participation in STEM graduate programs and academic careers. The goal of Edvantia’s work has been to identify institutional, programmatic, and social barriers to underrepresented minority student admission, retention, and completion at the graduate level at each of the eight institutions of higher education participating in TX BRIDGE.
Edvantia worked with the Lauderdale County School Board to provide instructional leadership development training to all principals and district leaders. Under the leadership of the superintendent to create change, the goal of the training was to (1) build a shared understanding among school and district leaders of new priorities for student learning and (2) create capacity among the school and district leaders to lead school improvement.
Two Mingo County West Virginia high schools – Tug Valley and Mingo Central – requested school coaching on dropout prevention and parent involvement. During two days at each school, Edvantia conducted four sessions each day on three different topics: (1) how to assist special needs students with developing life skills to prepare them for independent living after graduation; (2) how to assist parents with defining their role in dropout prevention and understanding how to best support their son or daughter in completing high school; and (3) how to find and utilize resources that address dropout prevention such as community organizations, school personnel, and publications.
West Virginia Parent Connections (WVPC), one of 63 Parental Information and Resource Centers, was a five-year initiative at Edvantia funded by the U.S. Department of Education from 2006 to 2011. During the five-year project, WVPC trained more than 450 teachers and 300 parents through professional development workshops, trainings, and forums.
In 2011, the BelleJAR Foundation, located in San Francisco, CA, asked Edvantia to create and host a repository of project-based learning (PBL) activities as part of its rural Appalachia education program. The Biology PBL Repository was designed to offer biology and environmental science teachers in Central Appalachia access to PBL activities that also might build student interest in future green economy careers. Free access to these instructional materials via web-based technology is expected to help biology teachers incorporate applications of science content, helping promote quality teaching and greater student interest in science early in the high school experience.
In 2010, Pacific Metrics contracted with Edvantia to conduct an evaluation focused on investigating the use of computer-delivered tests that assess a subset of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in Grade 7 and Algebra I. These tests consist of traditional multiple-choice and short-answer items designed to be computer scored. The four major purposes of the evaluation were (1) determine whether the goals of the project were achieved; (2) gather information about project activities that help improve the program; (3) provide guidance about effective strategies, which could be replicated or sustained in other states; and (4) provide assessment and evaluation technical assistance in the design of project instrumentation and materials.
During a two-day professional development workshop, teachers in Accomack County, Virginia, learned how to prepare and present quality questions at various cognitive levels based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. With a focus on student engagement, teachers practiced various response formats aimed at involving all students in recitation and discussion activities. Teachers left the session with numerous tips for creating questions on their own and involving students in the question and answer process.
In 2009, the Virginia State Department of Education (VDOE), on behalf of World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA), received an Enhanced Assessment Grant to develop ONPAR (Obtaining Necessary Parity Through Achieving Rigor) High School Science. This program focused on developing and investigating a series of cognitively complex, dynamic computer-interactive science tasks aimed at measuring the biology and chemistry knowledge and skills of high school students on end-of-semester benchmarking tests. The two major purposes of the evaluation were to (1) provide project staff with timely, useful, and actionable information about implementation with which to make programmatic adjustments; and (2) assess the quality and outcomes of project activities, and suggest replication strategies.
Edvantia was contracted by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, an independent, education improvement organization in Kentucky, to conduct focus groups with teachers, parents, and community and business leaders regarding the adoption of the Kentucky Core Academic Standards in math and language arts.
In 2010, Jefferson County Public Schools (Louisville, KY) was awarded an Investing in Innovation and Improvement (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education. These competitive grants are awarded to schools and districts to support innovative practices that improve student achievement. Edvantia is serving as the third-party independent evaluator for the Making Time for What Matters Most project, which supports targeted reform efforts in six persistently low-performing high schools.
Through the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC) in 2010-2011, Edvantia helped the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) build capacity to support equity and high quality learning programs in all schools and districts, and develop and implement college and career ready academic standards, practices, and assessments. This work included designing a research-based professional development plan; identifying and reviewing resources for developing student learning objectives for the performing arts, physical education, special education, and foreign languages; developing a comprehensive needs assessment for the Migrant Education Plan; and identifying exemplary practices to assist districts and schools.
From August 2010 through January 2012, Edvantia worked with the Kentucky Department of Education to provide expertise and technical assistance in the development of a professional growth and evaluation system for teachers and principals. Edvantia facilitated the work of two steering committees, evaluated the implementation of the pilot project, and provided information on the validity and reliability of the new evaluation system.
From 2010-2011, Edvantia consulted with Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) to implement Harvard’s Instructional Rounds method of instructional improvement. This work included developing an Instructional Rounds protocol specific to MNPS schools, providing professional development and technical assistance for central office administrators, and training more than 300 principals and coaches, which included on-site support and follow-up training.
Focusing on the improvement of literacy, Edvantia district performance coaches demonstrated effective practices for primary and adolescent students by working with instructional coaches and principals. The Edvantia coaches established literacy teams with teachers and a literacy coach at each school. During professional development sessions, the focus turned to literacy improvement through the use of best practices, consistent monitoring, and an emphasis on working together in literacy teams.
Edvantia served as the external evaluator for a three-year project to promote middle school girls’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, and implemented by a partnership of community organizations, Art2STEM provides afterschool programs in seven middle schools in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools that combine artistic and creative activities with STEM. Edvantia’s role in this project was to conduct both process and outcome evaluations to promote program improvement and assess the impact on the girls’ STEM attitudes, skills, and enrollment in STEM high school career academies.
Edvantia serves as the external evaluator for a grant awarded to Western Kentucky University (WKU) by the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Program, funded under the Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) of the U.S. Department of Education. The project partners with Jefferson County Public Schools (Louisville, KY) to provide high-need schools with math and science teachers through a residency intern project. Edvantia’s primary role has been to gather interview and survey data from teachers participating in the GSKyTeach program, and to conduct classroom observations to evaluate and compare teachers in the program to a group of beginning teachers in Jefferson County high-need schools.
In a creative use of professional development days, Northside High School customized the Professional Development Your Way module, “Asking Students Quality Questions,” to best suit its staff’s needs and presented it on two separate occasions, three months apart. As a result, teachers not only learned how to prepare and present quality questions, but also spent time between sessions practicing their questioning skills. Participants’ reflections during the second session revealed that a focus on questioning techniques increased student engagement and reduced disciplinary incidents while preparing students for formative and summative assessments.
In 2006, the National Science Foundation awarded Gallaudet University a grant to establish the Science of Learning Center (SLC) on Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2). As one of six SLCs, VL2 was established as a large scale, long-term project to gain a greater understanding of the conditions that influence the visual component of developing language and knowledge. In the fourth year of VL2, Gallaudet University contracted with Edvantia to conduct an evaluation of the center using qualitative (e.g., interviews, existing data) and quantitative (e.g., surveys, extant data such as web statistics) methods to assess the center’s functioning and progress toward its goals. Since then, Edvantia evaluators have continued providing consulting services on translational research and center functioning.
In 2006, the National Science Foundation awarded Temple University a grant to establish a Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (SILC), which is designed as a large-scale, long-term project to create the intellectual, organizational, and physical infrastructure needed for the long-term advancement of learning research. Starting with the third year of SILC and continuing through August 2011, Temple University contracted with Edvantia to conduct an evaluation to assess the center’s functioning and progress toward its goals.
In 2009, Edvantia began work on a two-year project with the National Science Teachers Association to increase teacher knowledge and effectiveness, and student interest, in earth and space sciences. With the aid of NASA educational materials, electronic professional development content was provided for middle and high school teachers. Edvantia served as the external evaluator for the project, which included 13 school districts nationwide. The evaluation process involved data collection, including surveys, evaluation forms, focus groups, telephone interviews, and reviewing extant data.
Since 2009, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission has contracted with Edvantia to conduct an independent evaluation of the West Virginia GEAR UP program. West Virginia GEAR UP, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, is designed to increase the number of low-income students in southwestern, central, and southern regions of the state prepare to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.
Between 2007 and 2012, Edvantia evaluated two Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination (AEMDD) projects, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida and the Tennessee Arts Commission contracted with Edvantia to evaluate project efforts. Both projects offered professional development to elementary school teachers to train them in planning and implementing arts integrated instruction in their classroom (i.e., integrating arts into teaching content subjects, like reading and math).
In consultation with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), and in collaboration with the Assessment and Accountability Comprehensive Center at WestEd, Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC) staff initiated and completed a study of the relationship between the Virginia reading assessment and Virginia’s assessment of English language proficiency. Subsequently, ARCC staff worked with the state’s assessment staff to increase the VDOE’s capacity to conduct its own linking studies.
To serve its primary audience of local school board members, the NSBA’s Center for Public Education contracted with Edvantia to conduct a review of research literature on the effects of homework on student learning. Because the Center’s mission includes exploring ways to improve student achievement and engage public support for schools, Edvantia staff were asked to include some additional pieces. These included a short summary of key lessons, a question and answer section to help readers interpret what the research means in practice, and a list of resources for more information on the topic.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Mississippi Teacher Center contracted with Edvantia to conduct an evaluation of the Recruiting and Retaining Educators for America’s Children (REACH) program that was implemented in high-need school districts throughout Mississippi. The REACH program included three major components: (1) recruiting and placing quality teachers in selected school districts, (2) supporting quality teachers by providing quality mentoring and induction, and (3) conducting a teacher working conditions survey to assess the working conditions of REACH participants and teachers statewide. The mixed-methods evaluation, conducted from 2007 through 2011, examined early teacher preparation and burnout, comparing REACH participants with other new teachers.
In 2006, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) determined that performance descriptors for the state’s academic achievement standards and test item specifications were needed. The performance descriptors were needed to provide guidance for development of the statewide accountability assessments in mathematics, reading/English/language arts, and science in Grades 3 through 8 as well as for English II and Algebra I. The test item specifications were to provide guidance for test developers and provide teachers with sample test items aligned to the state’s academic content standards and performance descriptors. Edvantia trained facilitators (MDE staff and selected Mississippi teachers) in the process for developing performance descriptors. These facilitators then worked with teachers, who were grouped by content area and grade clusters, to guide them through the development process.
Between May 2006 and May 2009, the Oklahoma Department of Education contracted with Edvantia and the Oklahoma Technical Assistance Center to conduct an evaluation of the Oklahoma Mathematics Improvement Program (MIP). The evaluation measured the (1) quality of professional development programs, (2) number and amount of awards granted, (3) number of teachers completing approved programs, (4) number of teachers successfully completing the Oklahoma Subject Area Test, (5) number and amount of stipends distributed to teachers completing the program, and (6) student academic achievement in math. Edvantia conducted a research study to compare the achievement of students of teachers participating in various MIP options versus the performance of students whose teachers have not participated in the program.
The Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC) at Edvantia is one of 16 technical assistance centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education.Since 2005, Edvantia has provided the state education agencies in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia with intensive technical assistance to address federal requirements and meet student achievement goals. As a result, the ARCC at Edvantia has increased state education agency capacity to implement No Child Left Behind (NCLB), enhanced student achievement, and improved school and district adequate yearly progress (AYP) status in each of the five states.
In 2005, the U.S. Department of Education awarded 7-year discretionary cooperative agreements to establish comprehensive centers to build the capacity of SEAs to help low-performing schools and districts close achievement gaps and meet the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. In September 2005, awards were made to establish 16 regional comprehensive centers and 5 content centers focusing on key educational issues. Edvantia evaluated the implementation and outcomes of 3 of the 16 regional comprehensive centers: Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC), Florida and Islands Comprehensive Center (FLICC), and Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center (MACC). Edvantia’s approach to evaluating technical assistance/capacity building at the LEA and SEA levels serves two main purposes (1) to collect, analyze, and present valid and reliable data on achievement of project goals, objectives, and outcomes; and (2) to provide project staff with useful information to monitor progress of their projects, help them identify challenges, and make informed programmatic adjustments.
In 2004, the KnowledgeWorks Foundation contracted with Edvantia to conduct a three-year evaluation of OCAN, an intermediary organization that provides support and leadership to Ohio college access organizations. The Ohio College Access Network (OCAN) wanted to determine which of its activities were aligned with and successfully met (or were progressing toward meeting) the strategic goals of program development, advocacy, and sustainability.
Saxon Math is an instructional program designed to promote mathematical dialogue and hands-on activities that actively engage students in the learning process. Harcourt Achieve sought an efficacy study to investigate whether K-3 Saxon Math improves achievement in mathematics for all students and for various subgroups. Edvantia was asked to designed a quasi-experimental study that examined math achievement in 24 schools that used K-3 Saxon math (experimental sites) and 24 that did not (comparison sites).
From 2003-2005, Edvantia conducted a curriculum review for the Louisiana Department of Education. When Louisiana identified the need for the curriculum review, the criteria to be applied were defined as follows: alignment with the state’s academic content standards, grade-level appropriateness, increasing rigor and complexity from one grade level to the next, clarity, user-friendly format, and clear instructions for implementation. For parishes without sound curricula, the state wanted to provide model curricula in the core content areas (English language arts, math, science, and social studies) for local educators to adopt and use as models.
Since 2003, Edvantia has served as the evaluation partner for multiple recipients of the U.S. Department of Education’s Teaching American History grants. To date, there have been 13 grantees from districts in Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Additionally, one of the project evaluations from Virginia received national recognition from the American Educational Research Association.
This collaborative of 18 rural school districts, several regional institutions of higher education in Virginia and West Virginia, two state departments of education, and Edvantia was funded by the National Science Foundation. The Coalfield Rural Systemic Initiative (CRSI) was primarily about developing additional leadership capacity to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics and science in the participating school systems. By emphasizing a data-driven approach to improvement, enhancing the support of district leadership, developing strong parent and community support, and partnering with local higher education institutions and other systemic reform initiatives, the CRSI fostered positive change.
In 2000, before the federal No Child Left Behind legislation was even written, the Tennessee Department of Education invited Edvantia to collaborate on a major effort to research and implement sustainable school improvement. Edvantia had been developing a research- and practice-based school improvement approach during more than two decades of regional educational laboratory work and contracts with other clients. The partnership with Tennessee presented an opportunity for Edvantia to apply its knowledge of and expertise with school improvement coaches—external facilitators of school change.
“I highly recommend Edvantia as an evaluation team. We have found them to be professional, timely, attentive to detail, creative, and extremely supportive of our grant projects. ”
— Rebecca Mills, Spotsylvania County Schools, Virginia