2020 State Standard of Excellence
7. Evaluation Policies
Did the state or any of its agencies have an evaluation policy, evaluation plan, and research/learning agenda(s), and did it publicly release the findings of all completed evaluations?
Evaluation policies allow state governments to align their evaluation and research priorities, learn about what works, and share information with outside researchers about additional areas where they want to increase their knowledge base.
The Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS) has a 2020-22 Research Agenda, which details four primary research areas to identify barriers to education and workforce opportunities: (1) expand data access and data use to inform equity issues; (2) evaluate outcomes and barriers for education and workforce programs over time; (3) connect supply and demand of the state’s future workforce; and (4) measure the impact of out-of-state education and workforce migration. All research results are made publicly available.
The Colorado Department of Higher Education developed a research agenda to inform education and training policies and programs. Data sharing required by Colorado law between the Departments of Education, Higher Education, Labor, and Economic Development generates research covering the education-to-workforce continuum. In addition, 25% of Colorado State agencies report having created research agendas with publicly available findings.
The Maryland Longitudinal Data Systems Center brings together education and workforce data from the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the Maryland State Department of Education, and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. The Center’s research agenda is established by its governing board.
In 2018, Minnesota Management and Budget adopted an evaluation policy, which governs its use of evaluations and requires the release of all completed evaluations, regardless of findings. The policy outlines key principles for evaluation, including: rigor, relevance, independence, transparency, and ethics. Minnesota Management produced an evaluation guide and also defines evidence for statewide research, evaluation, and funding purposes.
The Mississippi Department of Education has a research agenda informed by the State Board of Education’s strategic plan and a focus group of department staff members. The agenda’s associated questions and a dynamic framework shape the activities of the Office of Research and Development, which uses data to drive the Department’s evidence-based decision-making.
The Tennessee Education Research Alliance is a formal research partnership between the Tennessee Department of Education and Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education. Led by seven full-time staff and guided by a steering committee and advisory council, the Department and the University have co-created a research agenda that builds a body of knowledge to better position the state to make data-driven and evidence-based decisions. The Alliance conducts independent studies and directs external research to provide relevant and timely information to state policymakers across a variety of topic areas, including early reading, professional learning, and school improvement.
The Utah Data Research Center’s research agenda investigates themes related to the state’s education and workforce policies and programs. The Center’s work is guided by a governance structure that calls for staff engagement, an advisory board, an institutional review board, and a peer review process.