About Scholastic Research & Validation

See the Scholastic research life cycle

Program-based research at Scholastic is ongoing, from pre-release formative research to full-scale randomized trials; the findings continuously fuel enhancements to programs and associated services. The type of research supported at various stages of program development is described in the Scholastic Research Life Cycle below.

Stage 1: Foundational and Formative Research

A great deal of research goes into the development of our programs, including both foundational research, to support the research base and the theory of change, and formative research that is designed to refine specific features of a program. The formative research also feeds the design and instrumentation for early stage outcomes research.

Stage 2: Early Outcomes Research

The primary objectives of the early stage outcomes research are to:

  1. refine the observational tools designed to monitor fidelity of implementation and training;
  2. further develop surveys and questionnaires for future research;
  3. evaluate the quality and consistency of professional development;
  4. and determine the preliminary effects of the program using various measures of achievement.

Stage 3: Small Scale Rigorous Research

Rigorous research requires that students are randomly assigned to receive treatment (the program under evaluation) or business-as-usual (this group is also referred to as the control group). In most cases, this process is carried out by a third-party research firm working with the Scholastic Research & Validation team and the school district. By ensuring that students are equally placed into either the treatment or control condition, a causal relationship can be made between the program and the achievement outcomes; that is, the effect can be attributed to the program.

Stage 4: Large Scale Rigorous Research

If the Stage 3 research reveals significant and meaningful effects in favor of the program under evaluation, further large scale studies are warranted. These studies are designed to replicate the small scale research and to answer more specific questions about the types of students who are benefiting most from the program and the optimal conditions for program implementation, both within the classroom and across the school and district.

Stage 5: Ongoing Replication Studies

Replication studies may vary in rigor from quasi-experimental to single subject designs (no comparison group). The primary objective of the replication studies is to continuously monitor the effectiveness of the program in various parts of the country and with different types of learners.