Publications & Reports

View the various reports and publications by the Riley Institute’s research team below.

Montessori

“An Evaluation of Montessori Education in South Carolina’s Public Schools”

January 2018

With support from the Self Family Foundation and the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, the Riley Institute has completed a multi-year study of Montessori education in South Carolina’s public schools, the most comprehensive evaluation of public Montessori ever conducted in the United States. The study results demonstrate that students in public school Montessori classrooms across the state are faring well, as compared to similar non-Montessori public school students, when examining academic, behavioral, and affective outcomes.

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“Designing a Logic Model to Inform Montessori Research”

Published in 2019 in the Journal of Montessori Research Volume 5, Issue 1

This paper introduces a comprehensive visual model, or logic model, that depicts the core components, underlying assumptions, and intended outcomes of the Montessori approach. Logic modeling, which results in a visual representation depicting the connections among a program’s inputs, primary activities, and outcomes, is often used in program planning and research to provide a common framework from which to work.

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“The Montessori Model and Creativity”

Published in 2019 in the Journal of Montessori Research Volume 5, Issue 2

Prior research has demonstrated that the characteristics of school environments can impact the development of creativity in children. Thus, we explored the construct of creativity in the context of a Montessori environment. We used the Evaluation of Potential Creativity to measure creativity in children during one academic year. The findings of this study augment the body of research supporting creative development in Montessori children and suggest that researchers should continue to focus on the measurement of creativity in studies related to the efficacy of the Montessori model.

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“Montessori in South Carolina: Authentic or Not?”

Published in Winter 2019 in Montessori Life

Prior research has demonstrated that the characteristics of school environments can impact the development of creativity in children. Thus, we explored the construct of creativity in the context of a Montessori environment. We used the Evaluation of Potential Creativity to measure creativity in children during one academic year. The findings of this study augment the body of research supporting creative development in Montessori children and suggest that researchers should continue to focus on the measurement of creativity in studies related to the efficacy of the Montessori model.

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OnTrack Greenville

“An Evaluation of the BellXcel Summer Program: Final Evaluation Report”

May 2019

BellXcel implemented the BellXcel Summer Program, an evidence-based summer learning program that targets rising sixth graders at three of the four OnTrack Greenville schools. The Riley Institute at Furman University served as the third-party evaluation contractor for the SIF-funded evaluation of OnTrack Greenville, including the BellXcel Summer Program. This report presents the final results of the evaluation.

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“An Evaluation of Communities In Schools Of Greenville: Final Evaluation Report”

May 2019

Communities In Schools of Greenville provided tiered, individualized support services to students to help them meet their personal goals in attendance, behavior, and course performance. The Riley Institute at Furman University served as the third-party evaluation contractor for the SIF-funded evaluation of OnTrack Greenville, including Communities In Schools of Greenville (CIS). This report presents the final results of the evaluation.

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“An Evaluation of the Teen Leadership Course: Final Evaluation Report”

May 2019

Greenville County Schools implemented Teen Leadership, an evidence-based character development course that aimed to help students develop social skills, emotional intelligence, and relationships with others in order to improve student behavior between 2015 and 2018. The Riley Institute at Furman University served as the third-party evaluation contractor for the SIF-funded evaluation of OnTrack Greenville, including the Teen Leadership course. This report presents the final results of the evaluation.

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“An Evaluation of School-Based Health Centers: Final Evaluation Report”

May 2019

Greenville Health System (now known as Prisma Health – Upstate) implemented School-Based Health Centers (SBHC). Staffed by a team of nurses and physicians, these centers were integrated into the existing school health room framework and provided a variety of medical services not otherwise available in schools. The Riley Institute at Furman University served as the third-party evaluation contractor for the SIF-funded evaluation of OnTrack Greenville, including the School-Based Health Centers. This report presents the final results of the evaluation.

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“An Evaluation of Literacy Coaching: Final Evaluation Report”

May 2019

Public Education Partners (PEP) implemented Literacy Coaching, a model that combined two evidence-based approaches to coaching teachers in secondary literacy strategies (Balanced Literacy and Disciplinary Literacy) in order to improve student course performance between 2015 and 2018. The Riley Institute at Furman University served as the third-party evaluation contractor for the SIF-funded evaluation of OnTrack Greenville, including the Literacy Coaching model. This report presents the final results of the evaluation.

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Project-Based Learning

“Project-Based Learning (PjBL) in Three Southeastern Public Schools: Academic, Behavioral, and Social-Emotional Outcomes”

Published in 2019 in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem Based Learning Volume 13, Issue 2

Because of its increasing popularity and the disparate breadth of research around the model, a study of PjBL in three southeastern public schools was conducted during academic years 2015–2016 and 2016–2017. This study attempted to better understand how PjBL was implemented in schools and to explore the impact of PjBL on schools, teachers, and students. Findings did not reveal consistent significant differences in the performances of PjBL and non-PjBL demographically matched students on academic and behavioral outcomes. PjBL students did, however, perform better on inventories of social-emotional skills. In addition, while PjBL implementation challenges are apparent, perceptions of students and educators of the impact and possibilities of PjBL are quite positive.

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“The Effect of the New Tech Network Design on Students’ Academic Achievement and Workforce Skills”

Submitted in 2021 to the Interdisciplinary Journal of Project Based Learning (not yet published)

The effect of the New Tech Network (NTN) design on students’ academic achievement and workforce skills was tested in several schools in the southeast United States. Results suggest that the NTN treatment in schools implementing with fidelity significantly improved NTN students’ academic achievement, as measured by composite ACT scores (English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science) and significantly improved students’ critical thinking skills, mathematical reasoning skills, and workforce problem solving techniques, as measured by ACT WorkKeys Applied Mathematics scores. Results also suggest that the NTN treatment did not significantly improve students’ abilities to read, understand, and use written text on the job, as measured by scores on the ACT WorkKeys Reading for Information assessment, and did not significantly improve students’ abilities to locate, synthesize, and use information from workplace graphics, as measured by scores on the ACT WorkKeys Locating Information assessment.

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Overcoming Obstacles

“Overcoming Obstacles Life Skills Education Program Educator Survey: Curriculum Implementation and Student Impact”

January 2017 and January 2016

This report presents findings from the 2016 Educator Survey as part of an independent evaluation of the Overcoming Obstacles Life Skills Program (OO) conducted by the Riley Institute at Furman University and funded by the Community for Education Foundation. The primary goals of the survey were: 1) to explore how and to what extent educators across the country are implementing Overcoming Obstacles and 2) to understand the perception of educators across the country of the program’s impact on students and their schools.

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South Carolina Statewide Education Study

“In Their Own Words: A Public Vision for Educational Excellence in South Carolina”

November 2006

This study, the largest ever done in South Carolina and unique nationally, details key strategies for creating world-class schools in South Carolina, derived from 3,000 focus group hours with more than 800 grassroots stakeholders. It was conducted by the Riley Institute in 2005 and 2006 with funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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