The Northeast Comprehensive Center’s regional evidence-based implementation learning exchange is designed to build the capacity of states to organize and strategically support the field around the use of evidence. The exchange provides states with the opportunity to come together quarterly to not only learn, reflect, and plan around evidence use, but also develop mutually supporting relationships with each other.
The second regional evidence-based learning exchange convening took place on February 1. Four Northeast states joined in a discussion on strategies to build the capacity of the field around the use of evidence under ESSA. This conversation builds on a previous discussion held on November 30 around strategies to build internal SEA capacity around evidence use.
The second learning exchange centered on the following key questions:
- Who is your primary school or district audience and why?
Participating states identified various stakeholders who most need to understand the evidence-based requirements under ESSA. Some states suggested that it is important for all Title I schools to be familiar with the evidence requirements. Other states highlighted the need in Comprehensive and Targeted Support and Improvement schools. Several states further specified the important role that school leadership teams and classroom educators play in leveraging evidence-based programs and interventions.
- How do you know what the field needs and why?
- How have schools and districts used evidence in the past? States reflected on how schools and districts used evidence previously, as evidenced by what the field submitted to the state in their Title I and turnaround plans. Several states noted that programs and interventions were selected for various reasons including best practice, ease of implementation, or what had been used in the past. While these reasons may not always have a strong evidence base, states also noted the difficulty of the field in determining if existing initiatives or strategies are working.
- What do you want to get from the field that’s different? States almost universally noted their desire to move past a mindset of compliance when it comes to evidence. However, they indicated that this may be difficult, particularly initially, as the field works to better understand the new requirements. Several states expressed a desire for schools and districts to make more rigorous decisions: “Is this the right work, or is the easy work? And is it being done at the rigor that is needed?”
- How are your materials, interactions, and processes contributing to this change? Several states described wanting the evidence requirements to provide an opportunity for schools and districts to reconsider interventions they are using. Similarly, one state described wanting to be able to help the field cut through the logistical difficulty of curating research, particularly around Tier IV.
Next Steps: On April 26, 2019, we’ll hold our third exchange, focusing on needs assessment and it’s connection to identifying and selecting evidence-based interventions.