NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
ERIC Number: ED573213
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 104
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Evidence-Based Improvement: A Guide for States to Strengthen Their Frameworks and Supports Aligned to the Evidence Requirements of ESSA
Hale, Sylvie; Dunn, Lenay; Filby, Nikola; Rice, John; Van Houten, Lori
One of the broad intents of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is to encourage evidence-based decision-making as a way of doing business. Nonregulatory guidance issued in September 2016 by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) clarifies and expands on both the nature of evidence-based improvement and the levels of evidence that are specified in the law. This guide builds on that ED guidance and provides an initial set of tools to help states and districts understand and plan for implementing evidence-based improvement strategies. This guide recognizes school and district improvement as a continuous, systemic, and cyclical process, and emphasizes the use of evidence in decision-making throughout continuous improvement. In other words, the guide is not aimed at isolated decisions; rather, it is meant to support evidence-based decision-making that is nested within a larger improvement process. The primary audience for this guide is state education agency (SEA) staff who are responsible for understanding and implementing the evidence-based provisions of ESSA. The purpose of the guide is to build capacity of SEAs and their intermediaries to support LEAs in understanding the evidence-related requirements of ESSA and, consequently, selecting and implementing interventions that are evidence-based and that have strong potential to improve student outcomes. Specifically, the guide is intended to: (1) increase readers' understanding of the expectations and opportunities for evidence-based school and district improvement in the context of ESSA; (2) encourage a broad understanding of the elements of evidence-based decision-making, including how needs, context, implementation strategies, desired outcomes, and sustainability considerations inform choices of evidence-based interventions, and how formative and summative evaluation are integral to an evidence-based improvement cycle; and (3) offer guiding information and a starter set of six tools to support this work, with an emphasis on the process of selecting evidence-based interventions. The materials presented in the guide offer SEAs and their LEAs opportunities to conduct a review of their approach to school and district improvement, including selection of evidence-based interventions, and to develop action steps for strengthening the guidance and supports that SEAs offer to their LEAs and that LEAs offer to their schools. In addition to Section 1: Overview, the following four sections provide further background, tools, and additional resources: (1) Section 2 includes further discussion of the context and requirements of ESSA in relation to evidence-based decision-making, and describes a framework for a continuous improvement process grounded in evidence-based decision-making; (2) Section 3 gives suggestions on how to use the tools in the guide, including information about facilitation strategies and options for modifying the tools to fit state and local contexts. This section also emphasizes the importance of preparing for using the tools; (3) Section 4 provides six tools, each designed to encourage focused conversations and support cross-agency collaboration. The first two tools guide examination of state and district improvement and decision-making frameworks. The second two tools help SEAs and LEAs explore strategies for providing guidance on selecting evidence-based interventions. The last two tools support selection of evidence-based interventions; and (4) Section 5 offers a list of additional resources to further the conversation, and enhance the work, initiated by this guide. This section includes examples of publicly available tools for evidence-based improvement, and sources for research and information on evidence-based interventions. This guide was specifically designed to be a starting point for making evidence-based decisions, and is not intended to be comprehensive. It contains initial information and tools to guide conversations and foster deeper thinking around evidence-based decision-making, especially within an improvement process. The following six tools are provided: (1) SEA Inventory of Current Practice guides a state education agency (SEA) to take stock of its current continuous improvement practice, especially around evidence-based decision-making; (2) LEA Inventory of Current Practice is similar to the above tool, but designed for local education agencies (LEAs); (3) SEA Guidance for Evidence-Based Interventions helps a state to reflect on how it will provide guidance to LEAs on evidence-based interventions; (4) LEA Guidance for Evidence-Based Interventions is similar to the tool above, but designed for LEAs; (5) Intervention Evidence Review guides the review and comparison of interventions that target an identified need; and (6) Comparing Evidence-Based Interventions guides the determination about the degree to which a particular intervention aligns with a given context.
WestEd. 730 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107-1242. Tel: 877-493-7833; Tel: 415-565-3000; Fax: 415-565-3012; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Regional Educational Laboratory West (ED)
Authoring Institution: WestEd
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: EDIES12C0002