Evidence Support Center
The Evidence Support Center helps educators navigate the path from evidence to practice. The Center has developed a growing library of over 1,050 strategies from over 1,700 rigorously reviewed education research studies, in addition to technical support and consulting services, to support the identification and implementation of evidence-based strategies.
Who We Are
AIR’s Evidence Support Center (ESC) team has extensive experience and a proven track record in building state and local capacity in the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) standards and ESSA evidence tiers. AIR currently has a pool of more than 70 certified WWC reviewers. Each team member brings methodological expertise and certification in WWC group design standards and knowledge about implementation of evidence-based strategies into practice.
The ESC team has facilitated training and coaching sessions at state education agencies across the United States which has increased participant’s understanding of the ESSA tiers of evidence and how to align these standards to existing resources. The ESC team also includes AIR technical assistance experts with decades of experience leading and supporting school and district improvement through evidence-based practices.
What We Do
The ESC houses an online collection of hundreds of educational strategies that have been rigorously studied and reviewed against the WWC standards and ESSA criteria. This collection is more than a static collection of reports and documents. Rather, it provides personalized, actionable, and context-specific evidence on strategies that assist in evidence-based decision making for our clients at the state and local levels. The dynamic, user-friendly library interface allows users to match their needs and context to outcomes they want to improve and identify strategies with demonstrated success.
The resources within the library provide users with actionable information on the level of evidence for strategy outcomes; student- and school-level characteristics of the studies to aid in context alignment; and critical information for determining local fit, including required resources for implementation, cost, and guiding questions for consideration.
Evidence Support Center Services
AIR organizes its ESC services around four distinct and flexible categories that can be packaged together or separately to meet each client’s needs: needs sensing, trainings, study reviews, and reporting.
The following subsections provide detailed descriptions of each category.
- Needs Sensing. We hold an initial meeting with clients and key stakeholders to better understand their local context and recommend services to meet their needs and those of their districts, schools, students, and communities.
- Trainings. We provide several engaging trainings to build understanding and capacity, including understanding the ESSA evidence tiers; why evidence matters; how the tiers align with existing resources; and how to examine the extent to which these strategies fit with your local context.
- Study Reviews. We review individual studies, against both the WWC design standards and the ESSA evidence tiers criteria, to determine the evidence level for each outcome and the effectiveness of strategies for improving that outcome across the entire span of the ESSA Tiers of Evidence.
- Reporting. We provide access to the continuously updated ESC evidence library of strategies, outcomes, and ESSA evidence tier designations to all partners that invest in the growth of this critical resource.
AIR’s ESC evidence library pulls in publicly available data from the WWC. These data come from reviews that have been conducted and housed within the WWC Data from Individual Studies (DIS) database. The DIS database is the most vetted and trustworthy source of this type of technical information on evidence-based strategies available. AIR incorporates the data from the DIS to supplement our own reviews and to ensure that we do not contradict the WWC or duplicate efforts.
The WWC design standards are applied only to studies that meet the screening criteria for the WWC. These include experimental, quasi-experimental, single case design, and regression discontinuity design studies. Not all studies reviewed by the AIR team will meet these screening criteria.