Our Approach to ResearchThrough our research studies, Eskolta gathers existing student data (typically attendance, grade, and test data for students) and align this to data from surveys, interviews, and observations with staff, students, and parents. We have conducted research at the size of one classroom in one school to the size of more than 200 educators across the New York City school system. We are interested in our research being not just insightful but useful for the educators or policy makers it is being gathered for. To enable this, we not only share it in written form but also through presentations as it is gathered.
1. Research to apply quickly in context
Two of our research products are designed for immediate application in the context of the specific school or district we are supporting. These are intended as a guide for educators to adjust practice in response to learning.
Analytic reports provide quantitative analysis of student data at the group and individual level, enabling educators to quickly discern trends and patterns that they can use to hone in on the needs of specific students. Typical examples are a report on trends in student grades after a new model of feedback or a report on the connection between student report of teacher practices and test scores.
Work plans outline a series of recommended steps for a school, district, or nonprofit organization to design and test a solution to a challenge in a specific school. Examples include a one-year outline to transition from traditional grading to student-centered scheduling at a school or a 10-week outline for a series of experiments with a new approach to assessment.
2. Research to provide direct guidance on effective practice
Two of our research products are designed to provide educators with step-by-step recommendations and guidance on the implementation of promising and effective practices in schools. These summarize and present information so that it can easily be translated to implementation.
Tools & Guides
Tools are generally documents one to four pages in length that can be used by teachers with students. Tools have ranged from rubrics with guides on conversations to have with them to a curriculum development manual complete with steps for various school teams. These are accompanied by guides that highlight steps to setting up and using the tool in practice, based on research on how educators have designed and use these in schools.
Analytic studies provide a series of recommendations based on surveys, interviews, and feedback from students, educators, or parents on a set of practices. Examples include studies of principal feedback to teachers and district professional development for educators, both developed for the New York City Department of Education.
3. Research to encourage reflection on practice
Three of our research products are designed to provide educators with nuanced discussion and experiences from to spur discussion and reflection. Typically, these become tools for professional development and inquiry.
Models of Practice
Models of Practice provide a comparison of approaches educators are using to implement practice in schools. While no definitive recommendations are made, an attempt is made to highlight the reasons behind diverse approaches. Examples include a report comparing how principals scheduled teacher collaboration into their school year and another report comparing how teachers structured feedback conversations with students.
Case Studies tell the story of an experience at a school or group of schools, seeking to highlight key themes and insights in doing so. Drawing upon extensive interviews and visits to the schools in question, they paint a rich picture of the challenges of educational practice. Examples include case studies on teacher collaboration in schools and case studies on the opening years of new schools.
Case Stories tell the story of an individual at a school, using their story to highlight themes and insights. Case stories are similar to case studies but tend to be briefer and often focus more exclusively on dialogue and experience without explicitly noting themes. Examples include narratives of how individual teachers changed through a teacher leadership program.