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IES Holds its First Workshop on How States and Districts Can Evaluate Their Interventions

Empirical Education staff members participated in a workshop held in Washington sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) on April 24. The goal of the event was to encourage “locally initiated impact evaluations.” The primary presenter, Mark Lipsey of Vanderbilt University, called upon his extensive experience in rigorous evaluations to illustrate and explain the how and why of local evaluations. David Holdzkom of Wake County (NC) provided the perspective from a district where the staff has been conducting rigorous research on their own programs. Empirical Education assisted IES in preparing for the workshop by helping to recruit school district participants and presenters. Of the approximately 150 participants, 40% represented state and local education agencies (the other 60% were from universities, colleges, private agencies, R&D groups, and research companies). An underlying rationale for this workshop was the release of an RFP on this topic. Empirical Education expects to be working with a number of school districts on their responses to this solicitation, which is due October 2, 2008.