The New School research is primarily a case study of a demonstration project designed to increase the literacy skills of youth designated at risk. As is true in all case studies, the research focused largely on qualitative data collected through observations and interviews. But data collection also included learner outcome data that was quantitative in nature. These included pre- and post-test scores on a standardized reading test collected from all students over the full two-year period and scores on a scale capturing relative levels of social and emotional development (pre and post).

Additional qualitative information was collected on an ongoing basis and individual profiles were created for each student. Qualitative information was coded and analysed using standard ethnographic procedures.

Descriptive data capturing the family circumstances of students’ lives as well as their educational backgrounds and social and emotional well-being was collected through the New School Family Matrix and quantified.

Taken together, qualitative and quantitative information yielded a rich picture of the students’ skills, offered insights in the circumstances of their lives, and provided the basis for developing student profiles that illustrate both the successes and struggles of individual students.