IES Launches New Software to Support Program Evaluation in Education
June 14, 2016
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has launched a new tool that can make it easier and more cost-effective for states and school districts to evaluate the impact of their programs. RCT-YES™ is free, user-friendly software that supports sophisticated analysis and reporting of results from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and other types of evaluation designs.
"This software complements ongoing efforts by IES to increase the capacity of states and school districts to conduct high-quality research," said Ruth Curran Neild, delegated director of IES. "Analyzing data and reporting findings from impact studies can quickly become complicated. This software will help those with a basic understanding of statistics and research design conduct and report on impact studies. The goal is to involve more state and local education agencies as scientific investigators who contribute to knowledge about what works in education."
RCT-YES™ was developed by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. under a contract from IES' National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. While the software has a simple interface and requires no knowledge of programming, it does not sacrifice rigor. RCT-YES™ uses state-of-the-art statistical methods to analyze data.
"Traditional statistical methods in education, such as hierarchical linear modeling, rely on particular assumptions about the underlying statistical model," said Peter Schochet, a senior fellow at Mathematica. "More recently, alternative design-based statistical methods have been developed that do not rely on these model-based assumptions. RCT-YES™ is designed to analyze data using these latest methods, providing a robust and unified approach to assess the effects of education interventions."
The software can be downloaded from the RCT-YES™ website, along with a quick start guide, step-by-step instructions, how-to videos, and a report that details the statistical methods. A report properly generated using RCT-YES™ will include all the statistical information necessary for a review by the What Works Clearinghouse™ (WWC). The WWC, another IES investment, reviews high-quality research on interventions and programs to determine what works in education.
IES supports other efforts to involve states and districts more deeply in research, including grants for researcher-practitioner partnerships, technical assistance for conducting and using research in each area of the country, and grants to state education agencies to build and use their longitudinal data systems.
For more information on RCT-YES™, visit http://www.rct-yes.com.
Media Contact: Dana Tofig, Communications Director, Institute of Education Sciences, 202-245-8235, firstname.lastname@example.org