How Educating America’s Students Can Be Based on Science

December 12, 2003


December 10, 2003
David Thomas
(202) 401-1576

The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has unveiled an important new resource for state and local education officials and educators in implementing the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Identifying and Implementing Educational Practices Supported by Rigorous Evidence: A User Friendly Guide was released and discussed yesterday at a conference of top state and local education officials from across the country.

The No Child Left Behind Act and many federal K-12 grant programs require state and local education officials to use “scientifically-based research” to guide their decisions about which programs and strategies to implement. Yet many officials have not been given the tools to identify which practices are truly supported by rigorous evidence and which are not. The guide is designed to be a user-friendly resource for identifying and implementing evidence-based practices that may improve educational and life outcomes for the children that state and local officials serve.

“Perhaps the most effective resource we have for improving American schools is scientifically-valid knowledge about which strategies work and which don’t work,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige. “The User-Friendly Guide offers education officials and educators concrete, easily-accessible assistance in finding and using strategies that have been validated in rigorous studies. It represents a critical step forward in the implementation of No Child Left Behind and in the Department’s goal of transforming education into an evidence-based field.”

The guide was developed for IES by the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy. The Coalition is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, sponsored by the Council for Excellence in Government, with the mission to advance government policy based on rigorous evidence of program effectiveness.

A copy of the guide is posted on the Department’s web site at

The two-day conference of state and local officials, at which a discussion of the guide took place, was sponsored by the Coalition and the Council of Chief State School Officers, with support from the Institute of Education Sciences. A webcast video of the conference will be posted shortly on the Coalition’s web site