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.

Success Story

“We need to know if the money we’re spending and the time and effort we’re putting in toward our programs and professional development are impacting student learning. . . . Our experience with SEDL has far exceeded my expectations. I knew it was going to be top-notch, but this is the best learning experience I have ever had. . . . This team is a great blend of different areas of expertise, different perspectives, different personalities—and a common love for learning.” — Vicky Butler, Federal Programs Director, Cullman County Schools, Cullman, Alabama

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

Significant Work

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.

Show More Work


Image of publication cover Using Formative Assessment to Improve Student Achievement in the Core Content Areas: Southeast Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper, January 2012
Since 2001, federal laws such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 have made raising student achievement standards the center of our national conversation. Consequently, educators have increasingly turned their attention to exploring the potential of formative assessments as one approach to increasing student outcomes in order to meet federal and state accountability requirements.

The following products support the Concerns-Based Adoption Model, a conceptual framework that describes, explains, and predicts probable teacher behaviors throughout the school change process.

Image of publication cover Measuring Implementation in Schools: Levels of Use
This updated manual discusses how individuals behave and react with respect to specific change. The tool helps researchers and evaluators determine the extent to which an innovation is being implemented by distinguishing among three levels of nonuse and five levels of use.
Image of publication cover Measuring Implementation in Schools: Innovation Configurations
This updated manual describes how to use Innovation Configuration Maps to clarify what an innovation or change looks like along a continuum from high-quality implementation to least-desired practices.
Image of publication cover Measuring Implementation in Schools: The Stages of Concern Questionnaire
This updated manual explains how to use and score the Stages of Concern Questionnaire, which assesses teacher concerns about new programs and practices. The product includes a MS Word version of the questionnaire and scoring sheets, as well as a scoring program in Excel and SAS formats.

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