Education Policy Analytics Lab

Using Data in Evidence-Based Policy Processes through Building Research-Practice Partnerships

Authors: Min Sun, Eric Anderson, & Kevin Bastian

Abstract: ESSA envisions that schools adopt evidence-based practices for improvement and asks states and districts to monitor and evaluate these improvement efforts going forward.  It even defines the rigor levels of evidence that can and should be used. The issue is that states and districts are often not accustomed to using data for decision-making and may not have the research capacity to analyze large volume of data in the theory-driven and methodological sound ways. In order to fulfill this obligation, partnering with researchers is one way to address the data use capacity issue; however, successful, in-depth partnership on data use is hard to establish in reality. In this policy brief, we review relevant literature and also use one long-standing collaboration between university-based researchers and Seattle Public Schools as an example. We discuss key procedures of data use that directly translate research into practice and the conditions that are conducive for such process, including but not limited to, the partnership team composition, institutional infrastructure, and partnership activities and routines. We aim to provide first-hand, actionable knowledge on how researchers and district policymakers can directly use research and data in program design and policy decision making.

APA Citation: Sun, M., Anderson, E., & Bastian, K. (2019). Using data in evidence-based policy processes through building research-practice partnerships [Working Paper]. Education Policy Analytics Lab, University of Washington, Seattle.