Evidence-Based Research Strategies

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The basis behind evidence-based research is that some schools have been implementing lessons, materials, and curriculum that have been proven ineffective. In response to this, the federal government has addressed this issue under ESSA. ESSA supports the use of evidenced research that instructional materials or programs used in schools.

What is evidence based? When an instructional program or practice is evidence based, there must be consistent and reliable evidence that the particular program or practice has been proven effective.

The definition of evidence based is research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs. This includes research that:

  • Employs systematic, empirical methods;
  • Involves rigorous data analyses;
  • Relies on measurements that provide reliable and valid data;
  • Uses experimental or quasi-experimental designs;
  • Ensures that studies are clear and detailed to allow for replication; and
  • Has been reviewed or accepted by independent experts.

What does this mean for Title I?

  • All Title I programs, both targeted assistance and schoolwide, must use instructional strategies and methods that are evidence based.
  • All schools who receive Title I funds must provide documentation as to how the programs and strategies they employ are evidence based.
Title I paid staff who provide instruction in reading and/or math, as well as all staff teaching in a schoolwide program, must use instructional strategies and methods that are evidence based. 

Evidence-Based Resources
ESSA requires states to develop a process to approve, monitor, and review comprehensive support and improvement plans for selected schools. The NDDPI will offer a variety of additional supports to schools and LEAs that could include: on-site technical assistance, off-site networking sessions, embedded professional development, virtual learning experiences, guidance documents, and templates to support improvement planning and monitoring. The NDDPI will work with LEAs and REAs to support schools with implementing evidence-based strategies. In addition, NDDPI will assist LEAs in exploring and identifying appropriate resources within the various national clearinghouses.

  • What Works Clearinghouse is a central source of scientific evidence for what works in education.
  • Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Practice Guides are subjected to rigorous external peer review and consist of recommendations, strategies, and indications of the strength of evidence supporting each recommendation.
  • Florida Center for Reading Research provides information about research-based practices related to literacy instruction and assessment for children preschool through 12th grade, as well as a variety of evidence based interventions for use by educators.
  • Best Evidence Encyclopedia offers information to improve learning for students in grades K-12 and particularly targets students in mathematics, special needs/diverse learners, and English language learners.
  • The Center on Instruction offers information to improve learning in reading, mathematics, science, Special Education, and English Learning (EL) instruction
  • Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement’s mission is to help schools organize, plan, implement, and sustain improvement
  • Evidence for ESSA, a free website designed to provide education leaders with information on programs that meet the evidence standards included in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
  • US Department of Education Guidance - Using ESSA to Strengthen Education Investments