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 third regional evidence-based learning exchange convening took place on April 26. Four Northeast states joined in a discussion about local needs assessments under ESSA and their role in the selection of evidence-based interventions. This conversation builds on a previous discussion held on February 1 focused on strategies to build the capacity of the field around the use of evidence under ESSA.
The third learning exchange centered on the following key questions:
- What is the purpose of a needs assessment?
Most participating states say the primary purpose of their local needs assessment is the identification of school needs and priorities. Several states note the importance of identifying root causes and high impact challenges. One state describes their needs assessment as a structured process for schools to look at quantitative and qualitative data.
- How does the field know what they need and why?
- What differs in your needs assessment from prior practice? States note existing features of their needs assessment processes, including formal school visits and outside vendor reviews. States describe increasing numbers of identified schools under new ESSA-aligned accountability systems and the need to provide them with additional types and levels of support. One state describes providing newly identified schools with additional written guidance and videos of effective school practices. Another state notes the importance of providing different types of support for different groups of schools.
- What practice differences do you expect, or are you already noticing? Most participating states report that schools have an increasing focus on adult actions and addressing root causes that are within the local control. Some states are noticing that schools and districts have increased flexibility with turnaround models while working within the guardrails of the evidence requirements.
- Share a tool or visualization
Participants also shared resources they created or found related to needs assessment that have been interesting, inspiring, or useful. These include the NIRN hexagon tool, a school and district culture SWOT analysis tool and considerations about an asset and challenge root cause analysis from MA, a draft evidence-based review form from RI, and a diagnostic tool framework (DTSDE) from NY.
Next Steps: On August 31, 2019, we’ll hold our fourth and final exchange, focusing on the formation and use of research partnerships to investigate the effectiveness of promising local practices.