Summer Newsletter
In Brief
GRG wrapped up several projects this summer, including a visitor study for the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, strategic research for a private school in Metro Boston, and summative evaluation of, which provided information about climate change to riders on Boston's mass transit system. 
We're about to start an evaluation of a new project for WGBH in conjunction with The Partnership, Inc., funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, called Next Generation Leadership. NGL is a professional development program designed to help public media expand diversity among its programming executives by identifying and training new and diverse senior and executive producers and other content leaders in TV, film, radio, and digital platforms. Eight Senior Editorial Fellows will be selected for a year-long training in 2016. 


GRG Welcomes New Staff

Grace Bachman, B.A., Research Assistant, joins GRG after graduating from Wellesley College with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Economics. Prior to coming to GRG, she worked with the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women to increase legislator support for An Act Establishing Earned Paid Sick Time. During her senior year, she worked as a research assistant at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where she focused on cultural differences in negotiation as well as the perception of and bias against women and minorities in leadership positions.

Be a part of GRG's research!
GRG is currently inviting participants to join our research database. As part of this database, you will be given the opportunity to participate in some of our most interesting research studies on a variety of topics.
Most projects provide monetary compensation for participants' time and effort. The amount of the compensation depends on the particular project.
To join the panel, please complete a short five-minute online form at:


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Summer 2015  
A Message from the President

What do differentiated learning, museum visits, LEGO bricks, girls doing coding, favorite teachers, and Project Runway have in common? There are two answers: First, Tim Gunn's book, The Natty Professor:  A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating, and Making it Work! And second, a number of GRG's projects. (Where is Project Runway's place? Well, the show has been the subject of an annual office pool, and some of you may even remember GRG's 2008 holiday card
Project Evaluation Runway). Because most of GRG's research and evaluation work is concerned with education, my attention was caught when I heard Tim Gunn talking about teaching and mentoring when he was interviewed by Charlie Rose. As I read the book (a quick and enjoyable read), I was kind of astounded that -- through his many anecdotes -- he discussed a number of topics that are at the core of GRG's work.  He uses the acronym of TEACH to describe the characteristics of a successful teacher or mentor. 

- Truth telling -- injecting reality into situations
E - Empathy -- trying to understand where the student is coming from
- Asking -- asking reflexive questions of students 
- Cheerleading -- encouraging students to do well
- Hoping for the best -- and knowing when to let things go.
Not only are our projects concerned with teaching and learning, but we've had the privilege of mentoring staff, field researchers, grad and undergrad interns. As summer draws to a close and the ritual of school begins for students and teachers, it seemed like an opportune time to reflect on influential teachers and mentors in our past.  Did you have a favorite teacher or mentor? Tell us about that person. 

'Irene' signature
Making the Most of Graphics and Data Visualization
One of the things we're constantly working to improve at GRG is our data visualization. From infographics to interactive maps, new technologies and broader access to media mean that data presentations have to be more engaging and dynamic than ever. Often, that can be as easy as updating the types of charts and graphs we use to present data, to make them more visually appealing and reader-friendly.
Our biggest rule of thumb when it comes to data viz is that all graphics should tell a story on their own - in other words, if the reader needs a paragraph-long explanation on how to interpret it, your graph isn't effective.
For a recent project, we wanted to make the way we present gap analysis more easily understandable by the layperson. Gap analysis compares the desired performance with the actual performance, or, in this case, how important respondents thought certain aspects of school culture and academics were versus how satisfied they were with how the school implemented them.

Dot plots are a great way to display data.

One of our favorite places for all info data viz is Stephanie Evergreen's website - her webinars and blog posts are the topic of lunchtime discussions and report writing sessions alike. For this particular graph, we used her Easy Dot Plots in Excel tutorial - worked like a charm and we presented data in an interesting and easy to read way. We've used it to display importance vs. satisfaction, like in the example above, differences between test scores, and gaps between expectations and experiences in museum visits. 

Have an evaluation topic you'd like to see featured here? Email us at You might see it here next season!
M-LEAP2 Field Researchers Fan Out Across Massachusetts
GRG's NSF-funded M-LEAP2 study is currently in its second year of data collection and our team of field researchers (and GRG staffers!) has spread out across the state to conduct in-person interviews. With a crew of 11, we've crossed the state by boat, train, car, and, in a memorable instance or two, bike in 8 cities and towns. 

M-LEAP2 is our second National Science Foundation (NSF) grant-funded longitudinal study of elementary, middle, and high school students, their parents, and teachers within eight diverse school districts across Massachusetts. The original Massachusetts Linking Experiences and Pathways (M-LEAP) included over 1,000 3rd-8th graders. We examined interest in and aptitude for 21st century skills and careers. The follow-up, M-LEAP2, is highly qualitative and involves surveying and interviewing a sample of 72 of our original group of students, and their parents and siblings, with interviews with teachers who have been influential to the students. 

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