Center on Research & Evaluation


CORE develops high quality research that links to practice and evaluation in classrooms, schools and school systems, and community organizations that provide services to improve the well-being of children and families. CORE also actively collaborates with Simmons faculty/staff, community organizations, and researchers from other universities.

Some of the research projects conducted by CORE staff include:

Promoting Student Outcomes by Increasing Afterschool Site Quality

This study examines what aspects of afterschool result in positive outcomes for students, and how these effective elements can best be promoted in diverse afterschool sites. We first examine whether the amount of training and/or coaching provided to sites by DAS staff could explain overall differences in quality across sites. Then, we look at whether site-level quality can predict academic outcomes for students. Analyses indicated that differences in coaching versus training did not influence site quality, but overall provision of these supports combined positively impacted one element of afterschool quality, Activities and Programming, suggesting that different aspects of OST quality likely change at different rates and with different types of interventions. Additionally, reinforcing other findings, higher overall quality was related to positive gains for literacy in lower elementary aged students.

Measuring Oral Reading Fluency

This is a 4-year project funded by the Institute of Education Sciences through the U.S. Department of Education. The purpose of this project is to develop a new computer-based assessment system for measuring oral reading fluency for students in grades 2-4. The new assessment system incorporates a speech recognition engine for automated scoring, as well as a new psychometric model for improved estimation of reading speed. It is anticipated that the new assessment system will substantially improve currently available oral fluency measures, both from efficiency and accuracy perspectives.

The Middle School Intervention Project

The purpose of the Middle School Intervention Project (MSIP), funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, is to evaluate a multi-component intervention for middle school students who are well below grade level in reading achievement. These struggling readers received reading and school engagement interventions in middle school and data on a variety of academic and behavior outcomes are being collected through their 10th-grade year to evaluate the long-term impact of the interventions. The project is implemented in 6 school districts in the Pacific Northwest and involves between 30 and 50 schools (depending on the intervention year), and approximately 7,000 students.

Early Math Project

This project is being funded by the Institute of Education Sciences and has two primary purposes. The first is to test the efficacy of a fully developed, two-year pre-kindergarten (PreK Mathematics) and Kindergarten (Early Learning in Mathematics) mathematics intervention for economically disadvantaged students. The second purpose of the project is to provide evidence of the educational meaningfulness of the intervention beyond calculating the effect sizes obtained in the randomized controlled trial (RCT). The project is being implemented in several school districts in central California and includes approximately 1,000 students.