Roundtable: Balancing Evidence and Action in Education

Saturday, November 10, 2018: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Marriott Balcony B - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Moderators:  Alexandra Resch, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Speakers:  Ruth Neild, Philadelphia Education Research Consortium, Kimberly Richards, Fulton County Schools and Katrina Stevens, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

This roundtable will explore the tension between evidence building and action in education policy. Schools and districts increasingly look to evidence to inform decision-making, but they face pressure to act quickly to serve their students and react to demands from stakeholders, often more quickly than the traditional evidence collection process allows. Ideally, schools partner with researchers and plan ahead to embed rigorous study design and data collection into program implementation, but schools frequently implement programs and initiatives first and consider evaluation later, if at all. This session will explore innovative approaches to evidence building within compressed timelines and explore trade-offs and other considerations when implementing approaches that balance the need for quick turnarounds for decisions and the desire to base those decisions on evidence.

The session will incorporate live polling to engage the audience and focus the conversation on questions of interest to the people in the room.

The speakers have been involved in education research and policy as educators, district-based and external researchers, funders, and policymakers. They will draw on their experiences to discuss trends in the use of evidence to inform education policies and programs and barriers to its use. The speakers will respond to questions such as:  

  • What challenges do state education agencies and school districts face when making use of evidence?
  • How do accountability systems for educators, schools, and districts affect the generation and use of evidence?
  • How do districts and states use resources like the What Works Clearinghouse and the Regional Education Labs that aim to facilitate evidence use?
  • What role do research-practice partnerships and school improvement networks play in building and using evidence?

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