- The Every Student Succeeds Act will shape approaches to education research, and Thomas Kane — a professor of education and economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the faculty director of the Center for Education Policy Research — sees a model where state and local studies determine impact.
- For Education Next, Kane writes that states need to develop a scalable model of impact evaluation that districts and charter management organizations could handle locally, gathering evidence in pilots that would be most relevant to their own stakeholder groups.
- Kane suggests a compelling study would need to involve 100 classrooms in an intervention group and 100 classrooms in a comparison group, and states will need to identify intermediaries to help smaller districts pool their students, design studies and analyze the results.
The Every Student Succeeds Act, in returning a significant amount of power to the state level, also creates increased responsibility for state and local education leaders. Student achievement growth in the coming years will become a referendum on whether states can handle this responsibility.
When it comes to selecting educational interventions using research-based methods, districts can take some lessons from researchers at the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University. They recently launched a free website, Evidence for ESSA, that categorizes reading and math programs based on the evidence levels they meet. More resources are sure to proliferate in the next few years, including those that will help school districts design and run their own studies.