2019 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?
Why is this important?
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.
In 2018, Minnesota Management and Budget adopted an evaluation policy, which governs its use of evaluations and requires the release of all completed evaluation reports regardless of findings. The policy outlines key principles for evaluation: rigor; relevance; independence; transparency; and ethics. Relatedly, Minnesota Management and Budget also defines evidence for research, evaluation, and funding purposes.
The Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS) has a research agenda covering the period from 2017-2019. The detailed agenda includes four primary research areas related to education and workforce pathways: (1) expanding data to inform education and workforce decisions; (2) evaluating outcomes of education and workforce programs over time; (3) connecting supply and demand of the state’s future workforce; and (4) generating data about out-of-state workforce migration. All research results, statistical information, and reports are made publicly available.
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.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has developed a research agenda and posts online the results of all completed evaluations, as well as other research reports.
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 help inform the activities of the Office of Research and Development, which uses data to inform 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-developed 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 topical areas, including early reading, professional learning, and school improvement.
The Utah Data Research Center has a research agenda to investigate themes related to the state’s education and workforce policies and programs. The research agenda was developed using the Center’s governance structure, which includes involvement by staff, an Advisory Board, an institutional review board, and a peer review process.
The following Virginia agencies have released research agendas for questions they are seeking to answer using data from the Virginia Longitudinal Data System: Virginia Department of Education, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Virginia Department of Social Services, Virginia Community College System, Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, Virginia Department of Health Professions, and Virginia Employment Commission.