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 three grantee research studies that concluded in or prior to the second quarter of this year. To learn more and see additional research from our grantees across portfolios, visit Overdeck Family Foundation’s Research Repository.

Validation research

Study of CommonLit 360 Shows Gains on Reading Achievement

This is a retrospective correlational study of student academic performance based on data from 113,825 students in 313 schools who had access to CommonLit 360 instructional materials, including School Essentials PRO student assessment materials (e.g., professional development, administrator data dashboards, benchmark assessments), during the 2021-22 school year. The research team examined the relation between teacher utilization of CommonLit materials and student academic achievement and other student-reported outcomes for those students taught by teachers with high levels of utilization (defined as those teachers who taught at least 10 lessons from CommonLit instructional units) compared to those with low levels of utilization.

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Logic model & priority outcomes research

University of Nebraska – Nebraska Spotlight: Key Findings That Highlight Connections Among Early Childhood Development, Families and Communities

This is a survey of a representative sample of 2,500 Nebraska families with young children ages birth to five years. The report focuses on children’s development and family characteristics to examine strengths and disparities by various subgroups of families (e.g., urban versus rural). Illustrative topics include families’ economic and food security, neighborhood characteristics, parenting demands, home learning environments, and parental mental health. The survey took place online between July 2022 to January 2023.

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I-LABS – Language Experience During Infancy Predicts White Matter Myelination at Age Two

This is a correlational study of parent and child language skills and youth brain development in early childhood for 22 parent-child pairs, as measured by home recordings of parent-child verbal interactions and estimates of white matter myelination as derived from quantitative MRI when the children were two years old.

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Header image courtesy of CommonLit