AEFP 43rd Annual Conference Program
Chair:, University of Kentucky
Chair:, Vanderbilt University
Chair:, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Chair:, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Chair:, Cornell University
Chair:, Results for America
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) gives states, school districts, and schools more opportunities to design their own educational systems. At the same time, ESSA requires and encourages the use of evidence-based approaches and continuous improvement. ESSA’s evidence provisions, if implemented well, will ensure more resources are invested in state and local practices, policies, and programs that are most likely to have a positive impact on student outcomes.
Whether the nation capitalizes on this opportunity, however, depends greatly on the capacity of state education leaders and policymakers to leverage evidence, evaluation, and continuous improvement to solve their most pressing challenges. But what do we really mean when we talk about building the capacity of state education leaders to use data, evaluation, and continuous improvement? Taken another way, what are the barriers preventing states from more regularly and rigorously engaging with data and research evidence to drive improvement? And if we can’t name them specifically, how can we expect state education agencies to know where and how to invest in capacity-building efforts?
In this talk, hear from four dynamic education leaders with deep experience and expertise in datadriven and evidence-based policymaking, each with a unique perspective on what it really means to build capacity to make data- and evidence-informed decisions. The conversation will test some existing assumptions and generate new ideas about what specific skills, will, knowledge, and resources state leaders serious about making data and evidence central doing business should invest in, as well as concrete ways in which policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels can help create the conditions to incentivize and support state efforts to build capacity to use data and evidence.