CPRE : Consortium for Policy Research in Education

Using Evidence for School Improvement: State Education Agencies in the 21st Century

In recent years, state education agencies (SEAs) have become critical actors in designing improvement strategies and supports for schools and school districts under federal and state laws, yet studies of the SEA role in general, and their research use in particular, are scarce.

Although we have learned a great deal over the last two decades about improving instruction and schooling, it is not clear how much of this research is being used by those involved in key policymaking and support roles.

This exploratory, comparative study is designed to better understand research use at the SEA level. It will use in-depth qualitative case studies, social network analysis, and cross-site analyses of three SEAs to answer 3 research questions: 1) How are SEAs organized for managing and using research in their improvement strategies for low-performing elementary schools? 2) How do SEAs search for, obtain and incorporate research in these activities? and 3)What role does research play in states’ strategies to improve districts and schools? The findings, which will be shared with policymakers, practitioners and researchers, will help SEAs become more strategic consumers of research; add to the literature on research use by examining its use in an understudied context; and contribute to new understandings about how intermediaries can effectively share and improve the use of research in the SEA setting. 

Start date: 
July 2010
End date: 
September 2012