What We Do
Inverness Bay
We offer groundtruthing and insight

Education improvement is a complex and demanding enterprise without simple answers. Our goal is to help funders and project leaders improve their thinking, their investment strategies, their program designs, and their implementations—all in service of optimizing the contributions made by the investment. In our studies, we do not focus wholly on distal outcomes, but rather, we also study the realities of implementation. We help people interrogate their theories of action, and we groundtruth those theories by documenting what actually happens in field contexts. Drawing from our experience studying hundreds of education projects, we bring the lens of educational connoisseurship to our analyses of data.

We work in relationship with our clients, tailoring our work to the purposes of the investment

For funders, we can assess their portfolio of education investments, study the education landscape, and suggest new investment opportunities that serve their mission. We can also help shape, launch, and run new initiatives. As evaluators, we help funders to develop more nuanced appreciation of the strengths and limitations of their investments and to identify the multiple and often subtle ways that they contribute to education improvement.

For project leaders, we help to articulate the project’s theory of action, assess strengths and weaknesses of design, and examine the extent to which and the ways in which the vision for the project matches implementation realities. Our feedback can help project leaders refine their thinking and strategies, strengthen implementation, and build longer term capacities for improvement.

Our evaluation work can fulfill different functions depending on need and opportunity, e.g., documenting and portraying a project’s design and work, providing feedback and serving as a critical friend, assessing contributions to improvement and overall return on investment, and drawing lessons that speak to a broader community of research and practice.

We use an array of methods designed to illuminate and provide understanding

We gather evidence of multiple kinds to document the range of perspectives, activities, relationships, and constructs that comprise the complex work of educational improvement.

We prepare presentations, briefs, technical reports, and case studies that aim to portray key features of projects and lessons learned about their contributions to improvement in education. Our products serve a range of audiences: funders, project leaders, policy makers, and the field more broadly.