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Resource roundup: Knowledge utilization and data use in education

Resource roundup: Knowledge utilization and data use in education

By Meredith Lukow
July 25, 2018

Educators increasingly are seeking rigorous evidence to back their decisions about how to invest their time and resources, particularly with the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA’s) emphasis on evidence-based practices. Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest’s newest partnership, the Midwest Alliance to Improve Knowledge Utilization, is focused on this very topic. This curated list of resources from across the REL Program provides guidance for gathering and using research evidence and data as well as identifying evidence-based practices and interventions.

Gathering evidence and data

  • Research Methods Training Materials (Fall 2017–Spring 2018). REL Midwest provided a six-part training series for staff at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The topics covered the fundamentals of research and evidence; the use and development of data collection methods, including surveys, focus groups, and rubrics; basic statistics; and communication of research findings.
  • Measuring Academic Growth (April 2018). This REL Midwest Ask A REL response outlines the available research on how K–12 school districts can best measure student academic growth in reading and mathematics.
  • Embedding Evaluations In Everyday Activities (November 2016). The REL Program released a video explaining how schools, districts, and states can use a cost-effective approach known as “opportunistic experiments” to test the effectiveness of programs.
  • The Collaborative Survey Development Process (October 2016). This virtual workshop from REL Northeast and Islands guides participants through a five-step process of collaborative survey development.
  • An Educator’s Guide to Questionnaire Development (January 2016). Educators have many decisions to make, and it’s important that they have the right data to inform those decisions. This guide—developed by REL Central based on work with the Wyoming Office of Public Instruction and the Nebraska Department of Education—provides educators with a process for developing questionnaires.
  • Instructional improvement Cycle: A Teacher’s Toolkit for Collecting and Analyzing Data on Instructional Strategies (May 2015). This REL Central toolkit helps teachers use data from their classroom assessments to evaluate promising practices. It provides teachers with guidance on how to deliberately study a classroom strategy and systematically document and compare results to consider the strategy’s effects on student learning.

Using evidence and data

  • Strategies to Support Evidence Use in Education (June 2018). This REL Midwest webinar notes barriers that may prevent practitioners from using evidence-based practices and shares actionable strategies that researchers and others can employ to increase evidence use.
  • Implementing a Data Literate Culture in a Rural Setting (October 2017). This REL Southwest video describes a partnership with a public school in rural Oklahoma on the effective use of data to inform classroom instruction and improve student learning.
  • Developing a Culture of Data Use to Maximize the Use of an Early Warning System (August 2016). This REL Northeast and Islands webinar introduces five elements essential to creating and sustaining a culture of data use, with a focus on early warning systems.
  • Understanding Research Findings: Research Designs (August 2016). To help educators increase their research literacy, REL Central created this brief video explaining three basic types of research designs: descriptive, correlational, and experimental.
  • Toolkit for a Workshop on Building a Culture of Data Use (April 2015). This field-tested workshop toolkit from REL Northeast and Islands guides school and district teams through a set of structured activities to develop an understanding of data-use research in schools and to analyze examples from practice.
  • Root Cause Analysis (April 2014). This REL Mid-Atlantic webinar gives an overview of root cause analysis—a powerful method schools can use to analyze data to identify and correct the root causes of problems or events, rather than simply addressing their symptoms.

Identifying evidence-based practices and interventions

  • How Can We Increase Quality Educational Opportunities for Black Students? Consider Conducting a Gap Analysis (June 2018). This REL Midwest infographic explains how educators can conduct a gap analysis to compare current policies and practices with research on improving educational outcomes among Black students.
  • How Can States Equip School Districts to Adopt Evidence-Based Interventions? (February 2018). ESSA requires districts to use evidence-based interventions in low-performing schools. But how do districts know which programs meet ESSA’s threshold? Learn how one state department of education is approaching this challenge with help from REL Midwest in this blog post and associated crosswalk tool.
  • Evidence on Improving Performance, Behavior, or Attendance (June 2017). This series of REL Midwest Ask A REL responses outlines the available research on evidence-based practices or interventions that improve course performance, student behavior, and student attendance.

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Author Information

Meredith Lukow Staff Picture

Meredith Lukowz

Communications Associate | REL Midwest


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