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Office of Planning and Research

The How Do We Know Initiative

What is the evidence aligned to the Student Opportunity Act (SOA)?

The Student Opportunity Act (SOA) requires each district to create an evidence-based plan for reducing persistent disparities in achievement across student groups, which must be submitted for the commissioner's review on a three-year cycle.

In 2023, DESE engaged in a process to update our Educational Vision and identify Strategic Objectives to guide our support to districts, focusing on recommended state-supported strategies that are grounded in evidence. With this in mind, DESE has embedded the Evidence-Based Programs (EBPs) that districts must identify in their SOA plans within the larger context of DESE's Strategic Objectives.

The table below notes some of the evidence that supports programming and strategies aligned to the DESE's Strategic Objectives and Focus Areas. The How Do We Know web pages provide other resources to support identifying specific programs and strategies that are evidence-based and more likely to have the greatest impact on students.

Evidence-Based Programs Aligned to SOA

The Evidence-Based Programs table below can also be downloaded as a separate document .

Strategic Objective Focus AreaFocus Area Evidence-Base
1.1 Promote students' physical and mental health and wellness in welcoming, affirming, and safe spaces
1.2 Implement a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) that helps all students progress both academically and in their social, emotional, and behavioral development
1.3 Develop authentic partnerships with students and families that elevate their voices and leadership in decision-making and connect them to their communities
2.1 Select and skillfully implement high-quality and engaging instructional materials that support culturally and linguistically sustaining practices and foster deeper learning
2.2 Use the MTSS process to implement academic supports and interventions that provide all students, particularly students with disabilities and multilingual learners, equitable access to deeper learning
2.3 Reimagine the high school experience so that all students are engaged and prepared for post-secondary success
2.4 Develop a coherent and holistic range of programming that is responsive to the needs and interests of diverse learners
3.1 Develop an increased and robust pipeline of diverse and well-prepared educators and leaders
3.2 Create the conditions to sustain and retain diverse and effective staff, particularly those who entered the field through alternative pathways
3.3 Implement opportunities for all staff to engage in a cycle of continuous improvement, utilizing effective teaming structures

Last Updated: November 29, 2023

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