Studies & Research

In addition to monitoring and evaluating our grantees directly, we also stay current on relevant third-party research. Here is some of what we have been learning:

K-12 Education

  • Echelon Insight’s research, Millennials and Education, finds that millennials – those born in the 1980s and 1990s – believe that our public school system needs big changes, and think that creativity and flexibility are important to ensuring every student has a school that meets their needs. 
  • EdFacts: We have developed a series of flashcards to highlight basic facts about charter schools, charter school performance and the evolution of public charter schools over the last 25 years. 
  • This investigation of 43 KIPP schools finds that "the average impact of KIPP on student achievement is positive, statistically significant, and educationally substantial.”
  • A national evaluation of Teach For America corps members teaching high school math finds that students assigned to TFA teachers gain an additional 2.6 months of learning over students of comparison teachers.
  • This national study of charter schools conducted by Stanford University (CREDO) found significant positive effects in at least one subject for African-American students, low-income students, English Language Learners, and special needs students.
  • A study of a NYC voucher program finds that students who used a voucher were significantly more likely to attend college as a result.

Ocean and River Conservation

Home Region

  • In a survey of quality of life in Northwest Arkansas, conducted by the foundation’s Evaluation Unit and the Survey Research Laboratory at Mississippi State, respondents from Washington and Benton counties answered questions about overall perceptions of quality of life, particularly in the areas in which the foundation invests.
  • In Spring 2015, a study was conducted to learn how many people use the trail system in Northwest Arkansas. A user count was conducted by Chen Ryan Associates, and we learned that Northwest Arkansas usage is comparable to major bike- and pedestrian-friendly metropolitan areas.
  • This report was funded by the foundation to help guide investments in afterschool programming in Phillips County, Arkansas, and Coahoma County, Mississippi, and reviews outcomes associated with participation in afterschool programs and identifies promising practices of afterschool programs.
  • This in-depth review of comprehensive community change initiatives helped shape changes to the foundation’s strategy and evaluation efforts in the Delta, which now focus on basic community needs and targeted job creation. “Most comprehensive community change initiatives…have not produced the degree of community transformation envisioned by their designers.”