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Evidence Use in Education

Building the capacity of states and districts to better understand evidence standards in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and apply them to decisions pertaining to education policy and practice.

In the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states and local education agencies are encouraged to make evidence-based decisions on a regular basis. In fact, under the law, specific thresholds of evidence must be met in order to use certain formula funds and to receive certain discretionary grants. Given the RELs’ mission to build capacities to collect and use data and evidence in decisionmaking, the labs are collectively well positioned to help states understand and apply the ESSA evidence requirements.

REL West developed an evidence-based improvement guide that aims to strengthen state-level frameworks and supports so that they are aligned with the ESSA evidence requirements. REL West is currently working with states and districts to model the use of the guide, facilitate their planning, and look at evidence for specific topics of interest.

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