Resources to Support EBP Step 1: Identify Local Needs

The following tools and resources may offer useful examples of the types of tools and processes that states and districts could consider as they work with stakeholders to assess data and identify their most pressing needs.

Resources for States

Evidence-Based Improvement: A Guide for States to Strengthen Their Frameworks and Supports Aligned to the Evidence Requirements of ESSA (link is external)

This guide from the Regional Educational Laboratory West at WestEd provides six tools (link is external) to help states and school districts understand and plan for implementing evidence-based improvement strategies. The tools help states and districts inventory current practices and decide how to select new practices using a step-by-step process.

Better Evidence, Better Choices, Better Schools: State Supports for Evidence-Based School Improvement and the Every Student Succeeds Act (link is external)

This report provides guidance for states on the ESSA definition of “evidence based” and clarifies the distinction between the ESSA definition and research provisions under No Child Left Behind, and offers an approach for states to consider when selecting and implementing evidence-based school improvement practices.

School & District Improvement FAQs on Differentiated Supports and Interventions (link is external)

This FAQ document prepared by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) contains a section (question 1) with examples of state needs assessment or diagnostic tools to determine which supports would be useful to low-performing schools or districts. 

Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement: A Systems Framework (2017) (link is external)

This framework developed by the Center on School Turnaround at WestEd discusses critical practices of successful school turnaround in four areas of focus that research and experience suggest are central to rapid and significant improvement: turnaround leadership, talent development, instructional transformation, and culture shift. 

ED Stakeholder Engagement Policy Letter

This policy letter from the department of education provides information on stakeholder engagement as it relates to ESSA implementation, including guidance on best practices in engaging stakeholders and links to stakeholder engagement resources.

Communication and Engagement Rubric

This rubric was developed by the Reform Support Network so support states in self-assessing their readiness and current stakeholder engagement practices. It includes a communications rubric, self-assessment exercise, and links to related resources.

State Examples

Comprehensive Needs Assessment Plan Process (link is external)

This six-page document describes Georgia’s five-step School Improvement Planning process. It includes guiding questions to help schools prioritize needs and determine root causes in five areas: student achievement, student progress, achievement gaps, addressing the needs of student groups (economically disadvantaged/English learners/students with disabilities), and student/teacher/parent/community engagement.

Conditions for School Effectiveness Self-Assessment (link is external)

Designed for the school level, this qualitative rubric developed in the state of Massachusetts can be used for conducting a scan of current practice, identifying areas of strength, and highlighting areas requiring greater focus. Helps assessor review district support systems; school leadership; curriculum alignment; instruction; student assessment; staffing authority; PD and collaboration structures; tiered instruction and learning time; student social, emotional and health needs; family-school engagement; strategic use of resources and adequate budget authority.