The Every Student Succeeds Act will give states and districts more authority to be creative in improving schools, but they will need support to use research and data effectively, according to a report by the Center for American Progress think tank and the Knowledge Alliance, a professional group for federally funded research organizations.
The approach to using research evidence under the No Child Left Behind Act, ESSA’s predecessor, offered “a fairly narrow set of criteria for what evidence should count in school improvement decisions,” focused on so-called “gold standard” randomized controlled studies,. ESSA still favors that type of study, but also allows states to incorporate a wider array of research methods.
The authors recommend that states support clearinghouses for high-quality evidence, rather than listing state-approved programs. They also call for more training for district officials on how to evaluate research and incorporate it into school improvement planning.
A version of this article appeared in the September 07, 2016 edition of Education Week as Research Use