Since Elev8’s inception, research and data-driven decision-making have been at the heart of the initiative. We started by assessing needs in Elev8 communities and developing a flexible program model with several “pillars” that research had clearly linked to student achievement and success, including extended-day learning opportunities, school-based healthcare, and parent/family engagement programs—all carefully integrated to make good use of resources and effectively support students. Learn more about our original research base here:
The Case for School-Based Integration of Services reviews the current literature about the potential benefits of simultaneously providing three supports in school — healthcare, out-of-school-time learning and family supports — to boost students' educational outcomes. For disadvantaged, low-income youth, research indicates that access to these supports can play a key role in surmounting obstacles to educational attainment. In addition to highlighting how each affects key outcomes such as learning, school connectedness (i.e., positive feelings about school) and access to needed services, this brief summarizes the potential benefits of offering these resources through a highly integrated, school-based model.
Paving the Way for Success in High School and Beyond presents an overview of issues surrounding the 9th grade transition: why it is so important; why many middle school students find it so difficult; traits related to a successful transition; and what schools can do to ease difficulties in the transition. Research indicates that students unprepared to handle the transition are more likely to disengage from school, which in turn may lead to dropping out and a host of related problems, thus perpetuating a cycle of poverty for disadvantaged, low-income youth.
From the outset, Elev8 has collected extensive data and used it to enhance our programs. The information we collect includes participation and demographic data, quality assessments of Elev8 programming and an annual student survey conducted in all Elev8 schools. This approach allows us to identify strengths and weaknesses and improve implementation as needed (e.g., are we serving the youth we intended to serve? are we providing them with enough exposure to the program to achieve the desired outcomes?). Elev8’s data-driven framework provides a strong foundation for achieving positive impacts for our students, schools and communities. Click here to read more about Elev8’s approach to data management.
In addition to our ongoing use of data to inform programming, Elev8 is also being independently evaluated, including a national evaluation being conducted by Research for Action, as well as local evaluations taking place in Baltimore, Chicago, Oakland and New Mexico. During the first four years of the initiative, our evaluation efforts focused on program implementation. We are now collecting data that will allow us to more rigorously examine Elev8’s impact in a variety of areas. To learn more about Elev8’s evaluation, click here.
While our evaluation is ongoing, important lessons have already begun to emerge from Elev8’s data and experience. For example, see: