Founded in 1999, PowerMyLearning is a nonprofit that seeks to improve children’s academic mastery and social‐emotional learning (SEL) outcomes by strengthening the “triangle” of learning relationships among students, teachers, and families.

In 2017 PowerMyLearning launched a new mobile-based program called Family Playlists to reinforce the relationships in the triangle, which was featured by the New York Times.

Family Playlists are interactive homework assignments through which students practice a set of learning activities and then teach them to a family member, usually a parent, who then provides feedback to the teacher about the experience. The teacher uses the data from both the students and family partners to better meet the needs of each of their students—both academically and social-emotionally.

PowerMyLearning has successfully implemented Family Playlists in a range of schools. A case study of Family Playlists conducted with the sixth grade at a New York City school in the South Bronx showed promising early results on teacher, family, and student attitudes and behavior.  

Why PowerMyLearning partnered with Project Evident

In response to these successes, PowerMyLearning identified the need to scale their Family Playlists and to share their evidence with the field.

PowerMyLearning enlisted the help of Project Evident to create a Strategic Evidence Plan (SEP) to guide investments in capacity building that would support the enhancement and improvement of Family Playlists and demonstrate their impact. The plan is designed to advance PowerMyLearning’s goals for expansion, continuous improvement, and thought leadership.

What happened during our engagement

PowerMyLearning developed a learning agenda for Family Playlists that focused on three goals:

» Optimizing the adoption process for teachers assigning Family Playlists

» Optimizing the triangle of learning relationships among students, teachers, and families

» Demonstrating impact on student’s academic mastery and SEL

The Project Evident team collaborated with PowerMyLearning staff to articulate a detailed theory of change for Family Playlists. It detailed the key activities that drive the triangle of learning relationships, the key mechanism through which Family Playlists achieves improved achievement and SEL outcomes for students. This theory of change serves as the foundation for a detailed roadmap of evidence-building activities PowerMyLearning is using to implement and improve Family Playlists and document student outcomes over the five-year plan. The evidence building includes a cumulative impact study to measure the effects of Family Playlists on student SEL and academic mastery during the last two years of the five-year plan.

What is the impact of our engagement?

Through successful implementation of this plan, PowerMyLearning will generate evidence to understand successful, efficient implementation of Family Playlists, and generate foundational evidence on its effects on short-term outcomes for students. PowerMyLearning is investing in their current staff to build the capacity to generate evidence on implementation and short-term outcomes internally. These staff and their increased capacity for evidence building will position PowerMyLearning for further growth and scaling of Family Playlists.

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