Our grantees continue to generate cutting-edge research and evidence across our investment areas of early childhood, K-9, and out-of-school STEM. Within our vision for research, these research projects fall into three categories:

  • validation of program models
  • research aligned to each portfolio’s logic model and priority outcomes, and
  • research about cross-cutting topics that have implications for all portfolios

Each area of research adds valuable insights to grantees’ respective fields while bolstering our foundation’s understanding of the education landscape and best practices that can support improvement in key academic and socioemotional outcomes for all children. Aligned with our core value of “learn better, together,” Overdeck Family Foundation is committed to promoting transparent research practices by lifting up timely findings. We hope that other organizations and funders can use this data to inform strategic decision making and investments for the future.

Below are the results of six grantee research studies that concluded in the first quarter of this year. To learn more and see additional research from our grantees across portfolios, visit Overdeck Family Foundation’s new Research Repository.

Validation research

Efficacy Analysis of Zearn Math in DC Public Schools

This is a set of retrospective correlational and quasi-experimental studies of student math performance based on data from students in grades one through six who used the Zearn Math learning digital platform during the 2018-19, 2020-21, and/or 2021-22 school years. The research team examined the relation between student math achievement for those who were consistent users of the Zearn Math platform, as defined as those who completed three or more Zearn Math lessons per week, with demographically similar students who used the platform infrequently or not at all during the same time period.

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Implementing CenteringParenting Model With an Urban Pediatric Population to Measure and Improve Clinical Outcomes and Parent Satisfaction

This is a retrospective unmatched comparison group study of CenteringParenting, a group healthcare intervention for families and their children. Study participants included the 89 parents and infants who were recruited, successfully enrolled, and participated in the program between 2015 and 2019, and a comparison group of 279 similarly-aged infants who received traditional healthcare in the broader community. The study took place through the Children’s Health Center in West Reading, PA, a single-site pediatric practice. Researchers compared the groups on a range of self-reported outcomes and official health records through an 18-month follow-up period, including breastfeeding, well-visits, compliance with recommended vaccination schedules, and maternal depression.

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I-LABS & LENA – Language Input in Late Infancy Scaffolds Emergent Literacy Skills and Predicts Reading-Related White Matter Development

This is a correlational study of parent and child language- and reading-related skills in early childhood for 53 parent-child pairs, as measured by the Language ENvironment Analysis System (LENA) and other measures of language development. For a subgroup of 20 participant children, the study also examined the relation between those measures and aspects of youth brain development using quantitative macromolecular proton fraction mapping.

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LENA – The Impact of a Language-Based Intervention, a Two-Part Study

This is a small randomized controlled trial of LENA Grow, a language-based coaching program for early childhood teachers designed to improve communication skills. The study randomly assigned 20 early childhood teachers to receive the coaching program or to a usual services control group. This reports on teacher perceptions of language development, job satisfaction, and self-efficacy, and a range of outcomes related to interactive language between teacher and child for the children in the respective teachers’ classrooms across a 10-week follow-up period.

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Logic model & priority outcomes research

EdTech Evidence Exchange – EdTech Context Inventory: Factor Analyses for Ten Instruments to Measure EdTech Implementation Context Features

This is a methodological paper that explores the reliability of various measures of the context in which educational technology is delivered (e.g., instruments measuring teachers’ beliefs about and knowledge of educational technologies). The goal of this effort is to create a validated set of measures to describe a school or district’s implementation context—or “EdTech Context”—to inform future studies of the efficacy of educational technology.

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Cross-cutting topic research

DiscoverE – Messages Matter

This is a report on a series of national online surveys of high school students and parents. The report focuses on respondents’ perceptions of and interest in the field of engineering, and discusses communications strategies designed to increase the accessibility and appeal of engineering careers. The surveys took place between May and October 2022.
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Header image courtesy of Zearn