Center on Research & Evaluation

CORE's Approach to Evaluation

Rigorous and collaborative evaluation can improve programs and drive outcomes. CORE conducts comprehensive evaluations that focus both on improving programs and demonstrating impacts.

CORE uses a variety of formative evaluation activities to provide actionable data to our partners about how program implementation is proceeding, the extent to which goals are being reached, and what changes could and should be made to improve outcomes.  By collaborating closely and being transparent about our methods, CORE aims to increase the capacity of the organizations we work with to be able to plan, implement and evaluate their work more effectively.

CORE pairs process and outcome evaluation techniques to demonstrate program impact on identified outcomes.  Relying on logic models that specify theories of change, CORE works with community partners to identify a) implementation measures that will show how an intervention was delivered and b) appropriate indicators of change.  We introduce rigor into our analyses by linking implementation data to outcome data. 


Topic Areas

CORE conducts evaluations that are broadly related to healthy individuals, schools and communities.  While the majority of our work focuses on educational programs, CORE is well-versed in working on a variety of programs and topics.  Some of our most common topic areas are listed below.

Early Childhood Education & Literacy Development

CORE serves as a research partner to a number of programs and organizations providing early childhood education and related services.  We utilize a wide range of developmental appropriate assessments of language acquisition, literacy and kindergarten readiness and conduct multi-site, longitudinal follow up studies to determine the impact of early childhood interventions over time.

Social & Emotional Learning

Programs and funders are increasingly acknowledging the importance of social and emotional competencies in their own right, as well as their role in supporting academic achievement.  CORE’s staff has expertise in conceptualizing and measuring social and emotional learning outcomes and the delivery of effective programs aimed at increasing these competencies.

Academic Achievement

Many of the programs CORE provides evaluations for are interested in improving academic achievement.  These outcomes are broadly defined.  CORE uses standard academic indicators as well as innovative, mixed-method approaches to measuring emerging 21st century definitions of college and career readiness. 

Out of School Time

CORE collaborates with a range of afterschool and summer program providers, including, but not limited to, those focusing on reading and literacy, social and emotional learning, ministry and service, and STEM.  We use a range of data collection and analysis methods to determine short term impacts of program participation and, where appropriate, we link these data to in-school academic impact. 

Collective Impact & Community Coalitions

Increasingly, programs and funders are seeking cross-sector collaborations that address large- scale social problems that can only be changed when multiple partners come together to work on different aspects of related problems.  CORE serves as a research partner to multiple community collaborative networks, and is able to collect and synthesize data across a number of social sectors, and provide a meaningful assessment of the impact of a coalition’s ongoing work.

Supports for Implementation

Whether a program achieves intended outcomes is often a function of how well the intervention was designed and implemented.  CORE pays close attention to characteristics of implementation in order to support and improve programming as it is rolls out, and to more accurately interpret outcomes.