Partnerships for Learning Evaluation and Research

PFL (Impact 2012) Evaluation Report Findings


The 2010-11 evaluation found:

  • Strong increases in targeted teacher instructional practices across participating school teams (see chart below).
  • Strong focal student achievement gains in diagnostic literacy assessments (CORE, DRA)– demonstrating that reported teacher practice changes consistently improved skills and learning among low-performing students.
  • Some student improvements in the aggregate in standards tests (CST), but strong test results in numerous schools were associated with PFL teams who implemented the program well – e.g., student results in particular grade levels that were the focus of participating teams.
  • Strong endorsement of the program by participating principals, who describe it “with remarkable consistency” as an effective way to implement PLC’s that are focused on student learning, and by participating teachers, who consistently refer to learning partnerships as an approach that has deeply improved their instructional practice.

These results were achieved despite a large increase in the number of schools served (10 to 21), a reduction in days of service per school (75 to 40), and an corresponding increase in coach load.

The 2009-10 Evaluation Report provides solid quantitative data demonstrating that the inquiry and formative assessment practices have a consistent impact on focal student achievement and, to a lesser but significant degree, that of students in participating teacher classrooms relative to other students.

Formative assessment gains translated into gains in relevant portions of the California Standards Test (CST – 3 of 5 focals improved on the relevant sub-strand) and overall CST performance level (1 in 3 focals moved up a level, compared to 1 in 5 of all students in program schools).

Teachers reported substantial improvements in their ability to use formative assessment data to identify students’ learning gaps and to develop interventions to address those gaps. Both teachers and students reported growth in authentic learning partnerships.

The evaluation found that greater school leader involvement in the program and greater fidelity to the 2012 model were associated with greater school achievement improvement overall.


Evaluation Report documents:

Evaluations were informed by over a dozen videos of teachers, principals, and students involved in the project, from Inquiry Team discussions to individual teacher and principal reflections.  Some evaluation videos can be browsed below.


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Video by Community Bridge Video.


Past Evaluations

Our 2008-9 Stanford University evaluation found that Impact 2012 schools gained an average of 42 points on the Academic Performance Index, several times the state average; showed a pattern of improvement in student achievement overall and in English and Algebra 1 specifically; and that teachers more closely examined students’ learning styles and used formative assessments to gauge student progress.


Recommended Research and Links

Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (1998). “Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment.” Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-148.  Firm evidence shows that formative assessment is an essential component of classroom work and that its development can raise standards of achievement. Indeed, the authors know of no other way of raising standards for which such a strong case can be made.

Stiggins, R.J., Arter, J., Chappuis, J. and Chappuis, S. (2006). Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing It Right—Using It Well. Portland, OR: ETS ATI.  Assessment can motivate the unmotivated, restore the desire to learn, and encourage students to keep learning, and it can actually create – not simply measure – increased student achievement.

Popham, W.J. (2008). Transformative Assessment. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Formative assessment is a planned process in which assessment-based evidence of students’ status is used by teachers to adjust their ongoing instructional procedures or by students to adjust their ongoing learning tactics. Student gains in learning triggered by formative assessment are “among the largest ever reported for educational interventions.”