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The Department of Impact: Measuring the power of Paper™

At Paper™, we value evidence-based educational practices. That means we’re always incorporating the latest research, testing our hypotheses, measuring the results, and digging deeper to get the whole story—especially when it comes to the products and features that make up our award-winning Educational Support System (ESS).

That’s why we’ve created our very own Department of Impact, led by Head of Impact Drew Madson. The department employs a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods, along with the latest in AI, to find out exactly how Paper’s ESS drives student outcomes.

“What works? For whom? And why?” asked Madson. “It is essential we know what’s driving outcomes for our students, educators, and district partners so we can continue to improve our ESS and make a difference in their lives.”

Learning, well-being, and lifelong impact: How does Paper benefit students?

To measure impact, the department applies a three-pronged strategy that zeroes in on academic, socioemotional, and life outcomes, Madson explained.

Academic results: Paper’s impact on student learning

To assess how activities on Paper translate into measurable learning outcomes, the team examines how students use the ESS and connects that information to the kinds of exam data that our district partners value. For example, in a recent study, researchers compared usage of Paper with outcomes on MAP tests from NWEA, i-Ready assessments, and college entrance exams. For students who use Paper’s Review Center, initial findings indicate statistically significant positive relationships between Paper usage and SAT®* and i-Ready performance.

As we continue to refine our ESS, we also rely on internal assessment metrics for in-the-moment understanding of student academic progress.

Socioemotional indicators: Quantifying the confidence boost

We know that socioemotional well-being is essential for students to be successful in school and life. That’s why the Department of Impact examines how Paper affects learners’ confidence, interest, sense of identity, and more.

“We know that caring for students’ well-being—and helping them develop confidence—is crucial for success,” said Madson. Through qualitative interviews, product feedback, and other strategies—such as analyzing how students’ sentiments change over the course of a tutoring session—the department assesses Paper’s impact in these areas.

Life outcomes: Paper’s lasting legacy from graduation onward

More than just being an end unto itself, K-12 education sets the stage for the rest of a student’s life. When done well, that means learners enter the next chapter of their lives with greater possibility and potential.

“Each of our products is designed to ensure students are set up for a lifetime of opportunity,” said Madson. “In order to understand if we’re meeting our aspirations, we partner with the world’s leading researchers at Harvard University and McGill University to measure how Paper impacts things like graduation rates, lifetime earning potential, and more.”

[READ: “The K-12 guide to career and college readiness”]

Turning research into action

As the department assesses the outcomes of Paper usage and how the ESS can bolster long-term opportunities for students, the team creates impact reports that can be used to support continued enhancements at the district, site, and classroom level.

“For example, we recently completed a report for a school district that highlighted all its math, reading, and ELA gains,” said Madson. “The next step is to provide teacher implementation best practice stories so the district not only understands what worked but also how to double down on those practices.”

Just as impact reports will help inform decision-making and internal product development at Paper, these findings will support districts in clearly understanding the real value Paper provides for students, teachers, and communities. Both internally and externally, reporting from the department will help ensure that student impact serves as a guiding light for Paper and our partners alike.

Want to learn more about Paper’s ESS and how it impacts student success? Schedule a demo with our team today.

*SAT® is a trademark registered by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this website.

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