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REL Midwest Ask A REL Response

Educator Effectiveness

March 2020


What research is available on the effectiveness of statewide systems of support for school improvement?


Following an established Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest protocol, we conducted a search for research reports, descriptive studies, and policy overviews on the effectiveness of statewide systems of support for school improvement. For details on the databases and sources, keywords, and selection criteria used to create this response, please see the Methods section at the end of this memo.

Below, we share a sampling of the publicly accessible resources on this topic. References are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. The search conducted is not comprehensive; other relevant references and resources may exist. For each reference, we provide an abstract, excerpt, or summary written by the study’s author or publisher. We have not evaluated the quality of these references, but provide them for your information only.

Research References

Corbett, J., & Redding, S. (2015). State supports to districts and schools: How SEAs rate the impact. Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “Across the country, state education leaders want to know which state supports and interventions are being provided to low-performing schools and districts, which supports result in improvement, and which supports are most cost effective. Until we have comprehensive research findings on the many recently implemented state supports and interventions, the expert opinions of SEA personnel are our best sources of information. The Academic Development Institute and Corbett Education Consulting LLC, both affiliated with the federally funded Center on School Turnaround at WestEd, in conjunction with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the Sandler Foundation, surveyed state education agencies (SEAs) to assess high-leverage supports that states provide to districts and to priority, focus, and other low-performing schools. The survey was designed to (1) find out what types of supports SEAs provide to low-performing schools and districts, and to (2) determine the relative impact of each. In addition, the survey asked respondents about how they monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of SEA-provided supports and if they calculate the cost effectiveness of each. The possible supports were based on SEA-provided supports defined in The SEA of the Future: Leverage Performance Management to Support School Improvement (Building State Capacity & Productivity Center, 2013). The categories of supports include:

  • Opportunities and Incentives
  • Supports to Build Systemic Capacity
  • Supports to Build Local Capacity
  • Interventions in Schools or Districts.”

Council of Chief State School Officers. (2017). CCSSO principles of effective school improvement systems. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from

From the abstract: “This memorandum introduces a set of 10 principles—from states and for states—to inform the design and management of effective systems to improve or replace low-performing schools. The principles are derived from what we know based on current research, evidence, and experience, and the input of state leaders, key stakeholders, and other experts. To identify the principles, we began with what must be true at each level of the public education system—from what students must experience as learners to the critical roles played by schools, districts, authorizers, partners, and states. The principles also build on the CCSSO next-generation state accountability system principles that highlight the inextricable link between accountability and school improvement, including a focus on diagnostic reviews, targeted support for the lowest-performing schools (and their districts), and systems of continuous improvement to sustain progress over time.”

Davis, D., Krasnoff, B., Ishimaru, A., & Sage, N. (2010). What are the characteristics, qualifications, roles, and functions of school support teams? An examination of survey results for four Northwest Region states (Issues & Answers, REL 2010-No. 095). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education,, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (2002) requires state education agencies to assist chronically low-performing schools and districts by providing statewide systems of intensive and sustained support. One element of this support is the deployment of school support teams that work as external facilitators of improvement in schools and districts designated as in need of improvement. Across states, the basic roles of school support team members are comparable, but titles, qualifications, and functions vary. While existing research describes statewide systems of support and school support team structures, it does not provide information about individuals who serve on the teams. An early case study examined the role of experienced educators who were contracted to help build capacity for change, but it gave no insight into their functions. There has been little study of school support team members as currently deployed in schools and districts across the Northwest Region. This study expands on the current literature by focusing on school support team member characteristics, qualifications, roles, and functions in four Northwest Region states: Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. This study finds that team members in four Northwest regions states share many characteristics and qualifications and work primarily in schools, meeting with administrators on school improvement planning and implementation. Team members differ in time spent on the activities that support these functions.”

Dooley, N. A., Vivanco, K. H., Connell, P. H., & Hannah, J. P. (2017). A study of differentiated state support to priority schools in Alabama. The Alabama Journal of Educational Leadership, 4, 1–14. Retrieved from

From the abstract: “The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of the differentiated state support on sustained school improvement among priority schools in Alabama. This study was a mixed methods approach. The researchers randomly selected participants from 11 improved and 19 not improved priority schools for the survey. The quantitative findings showed no significant difference in improved and not improved schools’ perceptions of the state support practices. The qualitative findings revealed six emerging themes for state support: relationships; instruction, curriculum, assessment, and intervention; use of data; school leadership; community partnerships and external resources; and staffing.”

Gross, B., & Jochim, A. (2013). Leveraging performance management to support school improvement. The SEA of the Future, 1(1). San Antonio, TX: Building State Capacity and Productivity Center. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “‘The SEA of the Future’ is an education publication series examining how state education agencies can shift from a compliance to a performance-oriented organization through strategic planning and performance management tools to meet growing demands to support education reform while improving productivity. This inaugural edition of ‘The SEA of the Future’ examines how SEAs can better manage their relationships with districts and schools, identifies strategies for aligning resources with goals, and considers how outsiders—governors, legislators, philanthropies, and reform advocates—can support the transition.”

Hale, S., Dunn, L., Filby, N., Rice, J., & Van Houten, L. (2017). Evidence-based improvement: A guide for states to strengthen their frameworks and supports aligned to the evidence requirements of ESSA. San Francisco, CA: WestEd. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “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.”

Hanna, R. (2013). State education reform within reach? Exploring the effectiveness of state support teams for districts and schools. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “Since Congress enacted the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965, the federal government has emphasized states’ shared responsibility for improving student achievement. When Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 2001 as the No Child Left Behind Act, it called upon states to provide technical support to schools. Specifically, Congress asked states’ education agencies to organize ‘school support teams’ to work closely with school and district staff on school improvement. In theory, the task of support teams is straightforward: Improve the performance of districts and schools. But there is nothing simple about what support teams do. This issue brief explores one part of states’ work for school improvement—specifically, how state support teams have improved school performance. This brief also considers what issues school leaders face and how these support teams have attempted to help schools meet these challenges. The brief includes some examples of support teams that have changed the ways district and school leaders do their work, but their impact to date on student achievement has been limited. It also explores three themes that emerged in this examination of support teams: (1) State support-team effectiveness varies widely; (2) State support teams in their current form may have done little to improve student achievement; and (3) State support teams, if they are to become a more effective reform strategy, may require some redesign.”

Hergert, L. F., Gleason, S. C., & Urbano, C. (2009). How eight state education agencies in the Northeast and Islands Region identify and support low-performing schools and districts (Issues & Answers, REL 2009-No. 068). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “This report describes and analyzes how eight state education agencies in the Northeast and Islands Region (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, and Vermont) identify and support low-performing schools and districts under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Data collection for the report began in July 2007 and was completed in April 2008. A research team interviewed senior state education agency officials responsible for state interventions, conducted focus groups with staff and consultants who work directly with schools and districts, and examined materials and documents made public by the state education agencies. Focusing on direct state supports and interventions, the report finds that the eight agencies have created supports and rationales to put federally defined accountability principles into practice in response to their specific contexts, local needs, and capacities. Yet they share common concerns about balancing the tension between state and local decision-making, managing limited financial and human capacity for intervention, and ensuring coherence among various interventions. The state education agency officials’ voices and perspectives point to the need for continued learning about building school and district capacity to improve student achievement, and about the role of state education agencies in supporting that goal.”

Jochim, A., & Murphy, P. (2013). The capacity challenge: What it takes for state education agencies to support school improvement. Seattle, WA: Center on Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington. Retrieved from

From the abstract: “The push to raise standards and increase student outcomes has placed state education agencies (SEAs) at the center of efforts to improve the performance of the nation’s lowest-performing schools, but few are well positioned to deliver on that imperative. Federal and state initiatives like Race to the Top, School Improvement Grants, and Common Core State Standards pose challenges that most agencies are not prepared to meet. Seeking to understand what SEAs are doing to meet new and existing obligations, researchers conducted interviews with state chiefs and analyzed agency initiatives and budgets in 10 states with varied approaches to school and district improvement. They found no evidence that those with the most money had better data systems or more comprehensive accountability systems. And few SEAs engage in the type of budget analysis that would enable them to assess whether their investments align with their priorities or are paying off. While the lack of legal authority to intervene in failing schools sometimes limited the ability of states to act on their school improvement strategies, the researchers found that states that had such authority rarely used it. Importantly, the findings suggest that in many cases, the will to act is the biggest barrier to transforming agency practice. Absent strong leadership and a commitment to improving the performance of low-performing schools and districts, more resources or legislative victories are unlikely to result in meaningful change. To transform their organizations from compliance monitors into more effective drivers of reform, SEAs need to focus on leveraging the authority and funding they have to support school improvement. The report provides several recommendations state chiefs can act on even without new resources.”

Layland, A., & Redding, S. (2016). States chart new directions for education with a little help from their friends. Solutions: Building State Capacity and Productivity Center at Edvance Research, 8. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “For decades, the regulations attached to federal education funds have shaped the forms and functions of state education agencies (SEAs), especially as state funding for these agencies has stagnated or diminished. In fact, the relationship between the SEA and the state’s districts and schools has been colored by the strong tint of federal influence. How will states now repurpose their education agencies in this era of devolved control? How will SEAs step back from the grinding demands of daily government activity, stave off the always-blazing fires of education politics, and with ample time and collective intelligence, reshape their organizations and reset their goals and strategies? How will they reconceive their relationships with their districts, schools, and communities? How will these agencies manage their own personnel in different ways as the nature of their work changes? Recognizing that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) would open opportunities for new thinking about the role of the state in education, the Building State Capacity and Productivity (BSCP) Center—one of seven national content centers supported under the U.S. Department of Education’s Comprehensive Centers program—developed a strategic performance management (SPM) technical assistance process to assist SEA leadership in redefining their agency’s direction, creating an organizational structure to carry out that direction, and putting in place a performance management system to encourage productivity and innovation. The process brings ‘strategic planning’ together with ‘performance management’ to build a cohesive system to engage people in performance-focused work, report on progress, adjust course based on results, and seek better ways to carry out the agency’s mission.”

Le Floch, K. C., Boyle, A., & Therriault, S. B. (2008). Help wanted: State capacity for school improvement (AIR Research Brief). Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “This research brief reports on findings from an on-line survey conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to study state education agency capacity to develop and deploy a statewide system of support for schools identified for improvement under No Child Left Behind (NCLB). To provide support commensurate with the challenges facing low-performing schools, state education agencies need adequate capacity—including infrastructure, professional resources, and political support. Data from a survey of state officials in all 50 states reveal that: (1) State officials report limited capacity to support school improvement: only 16 states reported ‘moderate’ capacity while 33 reported limited capacity; (2) Respondents in states with more challenging workloads perceived lower levels of capacity; and (3) State officials generally perceive expertise within the state education agency to be a strength, although they report lower levels of expertise regarding the needs of English language learners. In summary, state officials perceive constraints associated with their own capacity to provide support to low-performing schools, particularly with regard to staff, funding, and technology.”

Le Floch, K. C., Boyle, A., & Therriault, S. B. (2008). State systems of support under NCLB: Design components and quality considerations (AIR Research Brief). Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), state education agencies are required to assume new roles and responsibilities. Among these is the establishment of a state system to support schools identified for improvement under the Act. Conceptualizing and operationalizing these systems of support has been a challenge for many state agencies, in part because this role is a departure from the traditional compliance monitoring activities with which state officials are most familiar. This brief presents data from a national survey of state administrators to describe trends in the implementation of this NCLB mandate. We begin by outlining the common components of state systems of support under NCLB and then suggest a set of research-supported indicators of the quality of those supports. Our purpose is to provide state officials and policy analysts a framework with which to assess and refine current and planned systems of state support.”

Massengale, C., Knudson, J., & O’Day, J. (2018). Always room for improvement: The California system of support as a catalyst for change (Policy and Practice Brief). Washington, DC: California Collaborative on District Reform at American Institutes for Research. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “In the 2017-18 school year, the California State Board of Education rolled out a new statewide system of support for local education agencies, with the goal of moving away from punitive accountability policies toward working alongside schools and districts to respond directly to local needs and contexts. Distilling lessons from prior research, practice, and continuous improvement endeavors, this brief outlines key principles of effective support and presents state policymakers, county offices, districts, and support providers with suggestions on how to engage in this work productively to ensure that the system successfully serves the students of California. The brief also incorporates recent feedback from the field, which was collected and summarized in a memorandum from the California Department of Education (CDE) based on the first 6 months of direct support to the newly identified districts. It notes areas of alignment between the Collaborative’s suggestions and the June 2018 CDE memorandum while also raising additional concerns for California’s education community to consider.”

Morrison, J. Q., Russell, C., Dyer, S., Metcalf, T., & Rahschulte, R. L. (2014). Organizational structures and processes to support and sustain effective technical assistance in a state-wide multi-tiered system of support initiative. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 2(3), 129–137. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “Despite the national proliferation of technical assistance as a driver for school reform and as a model for embedded and sustained professional development, very little is known about the organizational structures and processes needed to support technical assistance. The purpose of this paper is to describe a structured needs assessment process whereby three organizational supports were identified by technical assistance providers. The context for the provision of technical assistance was a state-wide multi-tiered system of support initiative that integrated Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Response to Intervention. The results of this study are informed conceptually by the Instructional Hierarchy Model and the need to match organizational structures and processes to address the identified needs.”

Opalka, A., Jochim, A., & DeArmond, M. (2019). A middle way for states in the ESSA era: Lessons from Texas. Seattle, WA: Center on Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “In 2017 the Texas Education Agency (TEA) launched the Systems of Great Schools (SGS) initiative. With a combination of incentives and capacity building, SGS attempts to transform how school districts approach school improvement. It calls on districts to manage school performance in new ways, expand access to school choice options, and take a dynamic approach to managing their supply of schools. As one of TEA’s partners said, SGS is ‘basically changing the operating system of the district.’ Unlike other recent improvement efforts, SGS has set out not to change individual schools, but entire systems. The promise of this approach rests on the hope that districts, in turn, will reinvent themselves in ways that enable them to eliminate low-performing schools and foster higher-performing schools to take their place. The policy environment in Texas has created conditions that may help realize those hopes. The combination of reprieve from potent state accountability, incentives to partner with external organizations to improve low-performing schools, additional capacity support and grant opportunities, and a strong but flexible framework for locally designed accountability systems help make SGS more appealing, and more feasible, for districts. These policy tools are not new, but the coordinated use of them to create meaningful incentives for districts to voluntarily make system-level changes should be of interest to state leaders elsewhere. Texas’ initiative suggests several important lessons for other state leaders interested in adopting ‘middle-way’ programs in other state agencies, which we list in this report: (1) New programs don’t necessarily require large new departments, but benefit from creative reorganization and realignment of existing programs and resources toward new strategic goals; (2) While it’s important to attend to the organizational and human side of change inside the state agency by finding ways to align with existing work and strategies, it’s also crucial to secure political support from the top and outside to make and protect organizational and resource changes; and (3) Successful change efforts require clear communication about the shifts the state expects to make, what success looks like, and how they will support districts to get there. While sustained improvement in participating districts is not guaranteed with SGS, this account of TEA’s early experience reimagining state-led change can inform efforts in other states in the post-No Child Left Behind era.”

Perlman, C. (2013). Summary of states’ strategies for ESEA priority schools. Solutions: Building State Capacity and Productivity Center, 6. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “By the end of 2013, 42 states and the District of Columbia have been granted flexibility regarding specific requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) in exchange for rigorous and comprehensive state-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction. Each state was required to develop a school accountability system that could be used to identify Priority schools (the lowest ranked 5% of schools in the state) and Focus schools (those with the largest achievement gaps). This report was written in response to a request made of the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center (BSCP Center) by a state education agency on how states identify Priority schools, what supports are provided, and criteria for exiting Priority status. Additionally, the state wanted to know whether Focus schools that fail to improve could move to Priority status. The purpose of this report is to summarize states’ strategies for dealing with their ESEA Priority schools, based mainly on their responses to parts of Section 2.D (Priority Schools) of their flexibility requests.”

Peters, R. E., & Svedkauskaite, A. (2008). A network for educational change in the Great Lakes region: A view through the lens of educational service agencies. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “The major purpose of this descriptive report is to provide an overview of the structure, capacity, and roles of educational service agencies (ESAs) across five states—Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin—in the Great Lakes region, within the context of the broader statewide systems of support for educational improvement and progress. The report provides a ‘snapshot’ profile of the general structure and current capacity of ESA networks in their respective states by describing ESA programs and services, funding sources, policy relationships to state and local educational agencies, and available resources as reported by the questionnaire respondents. A discussion, embedded in literature-based context, then follows about the exemplars, trends, and findings observed across the region. The report aspires to contribute to the ongoing and important conversations about examining current policies and building capacities at the local, district, and state levels regarding the statewide systems of support for district and school improvement. Building state capacity often means tapping into the readily available statewide networks to leverage the appropriate support and resources. Great Lakes East and Great Lakes West, in their state consulting work, frequently help state education agencies (SEAs) identify potential partners within their statewide systems of support. Led by this common interest, the authors decided to take a closer look at the statewide systems of support and build a broader regional understanding of their components. Great Lakes East and Great Lakes West worked closely with the Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA)—the national professional organization of ESAs—to conduct a survey of ESAs in the five-state region. The overall survey question is as follows: What is the capacity of ESAs in the Great Lakes states to play a more prominent role in their respective statewide systems of support to assist districts and schools in the work of educational improvement that will positively impact student performance?”

Rhim, L. M., & Redding, S. (Eds.). (2014). The state role in school turnaround: Emerging best practices. Sacramento, CA: Center on School Turnaround at WestEd. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “This publication explores the role of the state education agency (SEA) in school turnaround efforts. An emphasis is placed on practical application of research and best practices related to the SEA’s critical leadership role in driving and supporting successful school turnaround efforts. The publication is organized around the four goals of WestEd’s Center on School Turnaround: (1) Create a pro-turnaround statutory and regulatory environment; (2) Administer and manage turnaround efforts effectively; (3) Provide targeted and timely technical assistance to local education agencies and schools; and (4) Advocate and lead to build support for local turnaround efforts. Written by leading researchers and practitioners actively engaged in the work, each chapter includes: (1) A brief literature review; (2) Examples from SEAs and/or concrete examples of proposed SEA practices; and (3) Action principles for the SEA.”

Tanenbaum, C., Boyle, A., Graczewski, C., James-Burdumy, S., Dragoset, L., & Hallgren, K. (2015). State capacity to support turnaround (NCEE Evaluation Brief, NCEE 2015-4012). Jessup, MD: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from

From the ERIC abstract: “One objective of the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) School Improvement Grants (SIG) and Race to the Top (RTT) program is to help states enhance their capacity to support the turnaround of low-performing schools. This capacity may be important, given how difficult it is to produce substantial and sustained achievement gains in low-performing schools. There is limited existing research on the extent to which states have the capacity to support school turnaround and are pursuing strategies to enhance that capacity. This brief documents states’ capacity to support school turnaround as of spring 2012 and spring 2013. It examines capacity issues for all states and for those that reported both prioritizing turnaround and having significant gaps in expertise to support it. Key findings, based on interviews with administrators from 49 states and the District of Columbia, include the following: (1) More than 80 percent of states made turning around low-performing schools a high priority, but at least 50 percent found it very difficult to turn around low-performing schools; (2) 38 states (76 percent) reported significant gaps in expertise for supporting school turnaround in 2012, and that number increased to 40 (80 percent) in 2013; (3) More than 85 percent of states reported using strategies to enhance their capacity to support school turnaround, with the use of intermediaries decreasing over time and the use of organizational or administrative structures increasing over time; and (4) States that reported both prioritizing school turnaround and having significant gaps in expertise to support it were no more likely to report using intermediaries than other states but all 21 of these states reported having at least one organizational or administrative structure compared with 86 percent (25 of 29) of all other states.”


Keywords and Search Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Statewide system of support

  • Statewide systems of support

Databases and Search Engines

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of more than 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Additionally, we searched IES and Google Scholar.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published over the last 15 years, from 2005 to present, were included in the search and review.

  • Search priorities of reference sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations.

  • Methodology: We used the following methodological priorities/considerations in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types—randomized control trials, quasi-experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, and so forth, generally in this order, (b) target population, samples (e.g., representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected), study duration, and so forth, and (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, and so forth.
This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Midwest Region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL Midwest) at American Institutes for Research. This memorandum was prepared by REL Midwest under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0007, administered by American Institutes for Research. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.