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DeVos Team Clarifies Rules for Evidence in ESSA School Turnaround Plans

The U.S. Department of Education has issued new requirements for how school improvement strategies under the Every Student Succeeds Act must rely on various levels of evidence.

As our colleague Sarah D. Sparks reported Sunday, the department laid out the rules that apply to school improvement and other activities under ESSA. Among other key provisions, the rules would require evidence linked to various strategies to be "relevant" to the students or groups of students identified for additional support—in other words, that the strategy has been shown to help them.

In addition, a state or district would need to show that the strategy it's using to improve a school matches the parameters of a study showing that strategy's benefits. 

You might recall that there are three different standards of evidence for school improvement strategies under ESSA: 

  • Strong (relied on experimental trials)'
  • Moderate (relied on quasi-experimental trials);
  • Promising (lower bar for research standards, but still differentiated between a control group of students and those who had access to the improvement strategy).

The department is accepting public comment on the proposed rules until the start of next month. 

Click here for a lot more details in Sarah's story.

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