Research and Evaluation Technical Support
SEDL provides research and evaluation technical support to assist policymakers and educators in understanding the impact of school improvement efforts. Similar to the technical assistance we provide in other content areas (e.g., literacy, math, STEM), we facilitate knowledge building in evaluation skills and tools. Our approach consists of modeling evaluation or data-related knowledge and skills, scaffolding clients as they begin to perform the activities, then monitoring and providing feedback and documentation to clients on their performance until they reach the desired level of competency.
Evaluation Methods to Cultivate Change
Cullman County, Alabama
Cullman County Schools, like all school districts, needs to ensure that improvement efforts produce gains in teaching and student outcomes. Through our Center for High-Performing Schools, district and campus leaders learned evaluation methods for guiding and assessing their efforts while cultivating the conditions for change. We worked with leadership teams to model and scaffold evaluation techniques and tools. The support focused on the Alabama Strategic Teaching Framework, a K–12 initiative promoting instructional strategies that foster literacy and active learning. With SEDL’s assistance, central office staff developed an evaluation plan to guide the initiative. Read more
Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC): Research and evaluation (R&E) staff provide technical assistance to SECC state education agencies in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina to build their capacity to select and implement research-based school improvement programs and conduct evaluations on those programs. In addition, R&E staff assist educational agency staff in developing their expertise in data-related skills and consult on data issues such as statistical design, data collection systems, and ensuring project cohesiveness. Work varies by state and includes the following examples:
- Alabama – Plan 2020: R&E staff are assisting the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) with monitoring the implementation of the state’s Plan 2020, a strategic plan to ensure all students in Alabama graduate high school college and career ready. Support has included helping ALSDE analyze and interpret data and then develop impactful data visualization for use in presentations to executive leadership.
- Mississippi – Early Childhood: R&E staff are providing support and resources to the Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Elementary Education and Reading to evaluate the effectiveness of early childhood initiatives. This includes measuring the effectiveness of stakeholder engagement strategies in the development of an Early Childhood Strategic Plan.
- Multistate – Educator Evaluation Systems: R&E staff are assisting several SECC states in developing and implementing educator evaluation systems, with the end goal of elevating state capacity to identify, recruit, develop, and retain highly effective educators. Support ranges from lending technical expertise on complex evaluation metrics to developing communication strategies to engage stakeholders as active and informed participants.
Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC): R&E staff provide technical assistance to the Texas Educational Agency (TEA) and the state’s 20 regional education service centers through the TXCC to build their capacity to select research-based school improvement programs and conduct evaluations on the impact of those programs. R&E staff assist TEA and educational service center staff in developing their expertise in data-related skills and consult on data issues such as statistical design, data collection systems, and ensuring project cohesiveness. TXCC projects that provide research and evaluation technical support include the following:
- Texas Accountability System for Educator Preparation Programs (ASEP): To support TEA in developing the Texas ASEP, R&E staff are providing technical expertise on survey methodology, including survey development and validation, data management, analysis, interpretation, and use. R&E staff are also facilitating the involvement of staff from educator preparation programs in the development of ASEP metrics and serving as thought partners with TEA in efforts to streamline data collection and sharing.
- School Improvement: The TXCC has collaborated with the TEA to develop best-practice case studies on school turnarounds. In addition, R&E staff supported TEA’s development of the state’s 2015 Equity Plan (as required by the U.S. Department of Education), collaborating with TEA colleagues to identify state data sources, analyze and interpret these data, and develop and analyze state engagement surveys.
Cullman County School System: R&E staff provided technical assistance to the Cullman County School System in using the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) to facilitate a school improvement initiative. CBAM consists of a set of tools for formatively assessing implementation progress. These tools, when combined with other evaluation tools, provide a comprehensive picture of the effectiveness and impact of the initiative. The SEDL team collaborated with Cullman County School staff to develop their expertise in combining formative and summative evaluation methods and tools to achieve their school improvement goals.
Girlstart Evaluation: SEDL provided evaluation support to Girlstart, a Central Texas informal education program dedicated to empowering and equipping K–12 girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
UTeach STEM Planning Grant: R&E staff collaborated on a planning grant to develop research design options and methodological approaches to evaluate the efficacy of the UTeach STEM teacher preparation program at the University of Texas at Austin. R&E staff recruited national advisors with a range of expertise to advise and assist with the work.
Southeast Comprehensive Center (2005–2012): R&E staff provided technical assistance to state education agencies in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina in supporting their low-performing districts and schools. In several states, R&E staff increased the capacity of state department staff to develop and implement evaluation plans and tools to assess the progress of school improvement initiatives and programs in attaining their goals. Support also included the use of evaluation data for determining program challenges and refinements, when needed.
Texas Comprehensive Center (2005–2012): R&E staff provided technical assistance to the Texas Education Agency and the state’s 20 regional education service centers to increase their capacity to support low-performing districts and schools. Work included consulting sessions on essential elements of the educator evaluation systems and on establishing an accountability system for educator preparation programs. R&E staff also assisted in the development of evaluation plans and tools for several of the state’s educational initiatives.