Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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Office of Planning and Research

The How Do We Know Initiative:
Using, Building, and Sharing Evidence to Improve Student Outcomes

To improve outcomes for Massachusetts students, educators need to ask themselves two critical questions:

  • How do we know that a strategy we're considering is likely to succeed?
  • How do we know whether what we have implemented is actually working?

Answering these questions requires educators to use, build, and share evidence about practice. Using evidence to guide our policies, programming choices and program improvement is the best way to maximize the likelihood of student success. Moreover, federal law calls upon districts and schools to use evidence-based interventions as the foundation for their educational programming. This website provides resources to help Massachusetts districts locate existing research and to support their ability to measure implementation and impact as part of their improvement strategy. These web pages cover the following topics:

In order to inform its efforts to provide useful resources for districts, DESE's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) asked one of its summer 2018 Rappaport fellows to conduct interviews with a representative sample of Massachusetts districts. The findings from these interviews helped to address another important question:

DESE will continue to update and expand this page to provide districts and schools with greater access to information about evidence-based practices from here in Massachusetts and nationwide. Please contact Kendra Winner with any suggestions or comments at (781) 338-3129 or

Last Updated: September 5, 2018
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