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 first regional evidence-based learning exchange convening took place on November 30, 2018. Five Northeast states joined in a discussion on strategies for internal capacity building to support the use of evidence under ESSA.

The discussion centered around the following key questions:

  • Who at the SEA needs to know about the use of evidence under ESSA?
    Participating states identified a variety of stakeholders who need to understand the evidence based requirements under ESSA. Some states suggest that all program staff need this this information, whereas others targeted their capacity building efforts around key program staff (e.g., Title 1 and other federal program staff). States also suggest that external stakeholders, such as boards of education and educator associations, would benefit from a better understanding of ESSA’s evidence requirements.
  • Why do they need to know?
    • Key program staff, such as those who work directly with the field on matters such as school turnaround, need to understand evidence requirements under ESSA in order to support schools and districts in implementing those requirements.
    • Other participants felt that all program staff—even those who do not work directly in support of the field’s implementation of ESSA—can benefit from understanding how these requirements impact the context of schools’ and districts’ work. Such shared knowledge can help SEA departments work more productively together, and can also serve as an opportunity to help SEA staff consider the extent to which their own practices and expectations are supported by evidence (for example, one state has begun to incorporate evidence-based requirements to state funding opportunities).
    • Finally, SEA leaders and other education leaders need to understand how the policy decisions they are responsible for making and implementing are influenced by ESSA’s evidence requirements.
  • How will they know?
    Specific methods for training SEA staff on evidence-based requirements include a range formal and information options, including detailed guidance documents, internal training models, and program-developed team trainings. One state provides training materials that help staff determine levels of evidence tiers using real scenarios taken from the field.

Next Steps: On February 1, 2019, we’ll hold our second exchange, focusing on how states are communicating the meaning and opportunity of evidence to the field.

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