If you've been following HMH's posts on Navigating ESSA, you'll know that the “E,” as in Evidence, is a frequent topic. The Department of Education has recently bolstered the evidence factor as defined in ESSA by establishing additional evidence requirements to qualify for direct grants from the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR). Now, the evidence definitions that are to be used by local education agencies engaged in school improvement efforts and administering intervention programs will also be aligned to other direct grants.
To quickly review, here are the standards and brief descriptions for evidence as defined by ESSA (with gold standard being the most rigorous):
The gold standard is exemplified by the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), and there are many resources available for designing a rigorous study. This information will be useful in the event that a specific program or practice your district is considering has no research attached to it; you may be required to conduct your own studies.
As a guideline for reviewing the research, federal requirements encourage that you find "relevant" research, meaning consistent with the student population being served and the situation or context for implementation. I think this is a great opportunity for all of us to learn together as we strive to meet the new ESSA research standards. As the Chief Research Officer at HMH, I'm so fortunate to be able to engage outstanding research professionals and organizations in our efficacy studies. Toward that end, school district partners are critical to our efforts and I hope there will be opportunities to work together.
Watch this space for ongoing updates on ESSA and use the comments section to share your current ESSA-related activities, concerns, or questions.