Evaluating the Impact of COVID-19-Related Interventions: Key Considerations and Available Approaches
The U.S. Department of Education is funding interventions that accelerate student learning affected by COVID-19, and it has provided guidance on how best to use these funds. For the most part, local education agencies (LEAs) have broad discretion over what programs (interventions) best meet their needs, and which ones they will adopt and implement so that students do not fall further behind next school year. At the same time, LEAs will want to determine whether the programs they implement work well for all participating students, and especially for their highest-need learners. Evaluation of these efforts can ensure not only that supports are effective, but also that money provided is well spent. Finally, as one-time funding phases out, LEAs will be left to decide whether to continue these efforts in place of other existing instructional strategies and supports, or to phase COVID interventions out of their program offerings.
Given that evaluation can be a time-consuming endeavor, we lay out some questions below for LEAs to consider in preparation for this work, share guidance on data requirements for program evaluation, provide some suggestions for evaluation designs, and describe the process Education Analytics takes to partner with education agencies interested in evaluating their efforts.