ESSA Evidence Tiers
The ESSA evidence tier system encourages the use of educational programs that are supported by rigorous research evidence:
One well-designed and well-implemented experimental study (randomized control trial)
One well-designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental study
One well-designed and well-implemented correlational study with statistical controls for selection bias
Demonstrates rationale based on high-quality research findings or positive evaluation that suggests a likelihood to improve student outcomes
1Non-Regulatory Guidance: Using Evidence to Strengthen Education Investments, 2016, https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/guidanceuseseinvestment.pdf
1. Publication date
Due to the rapid improvements often made to digital learning solutions, studies completed more than 10 years ago may not accurately or appropriately reflect the effectiveness of currently available programs.
2. Sample size
Studies that include more students, schools, and school districts are more capable of detecting the true effect of the program on student outcomes and the observed results are more likely to be replicable in different student populations.
3. Statistically significant positive effects
Positive research results that are statistically significant demonstrate that the observed outcomes can be confidently attributed to the evaluated program and not due to some other factor(s).
Many categorically similar study participants or groups may prematurely exit a study for a variety of reasons. When this occurs, research rigor may be compromised.
Imagine Learning ESSA Research
Imagine Learning partners with independent research firms to conduct ESSA-aligned research every year. Besides demonstrating evidence of effectiveness, these studies and research partnerships provide a wealth of information that is translated into product enhancements, added supports for educators, and research publications for the advancement of effective educational practices.
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Shape the future of K–12 learning by becoming an Imagine Learning Research Partner