Evidence-Building Opportunities Under ESSA: How States Can and Should Generate Evidence to Drive Better Outcomes for Students

May 17, 2018

Chiefs for Change and Results for America issued a report that highlights Proving Ground's work with the Ohio Department of Education.

The December 2015 passage of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) marked a dramatic shift in recent federal education policy by granting states and school districts significantly more authority and flexibility to design education systems that reflect local needs and priorities. However, with increased flexibility comes increased responsibility and accountability for results. This is especially true with respect to states’ charge to improve outcomes in the lowest-performing schools.             

Given that previous school improvement efforts have produced inconsistent results,1 it’s not surprising that there is considerable skepticism about ESSA’s emphasis on state-led school improvement. However, there is an important distinction: ESSA contains provisions that encourage, and in some cases require, the use of evidence-based approaches and continuous improvement. If implemented well, ESSA could help to ensure more resources are invested in policies, practices, and programs grounded in reliable evidence. It could also help to build the evidence base about what works, for whom, and under what circumstances.

The state and district education Chiefs who are members of Chiefs for Change are leaders in this area. They are using the evidence provisions in ESSA to support initiatives that accelerate academic progress, particularly for those students who are furthest behind. Members of Chiefs for Change are not only supporting initiatives in their own states, they are expanding the base of information available to education leaders across the country. This report builds on the work Chiefs for Change has done to identify ways to leverage the evidence provisions in ESSA and use federal funds to support this approach. Specifically, the report offers guidance for state education agencies (SEAs)


Read more at Chiefs for Change.