New from NCEE: Guides for making the most of opportunities to learn what works

ncee-logo-tagline1Two new guides – one for researchers and one for education leaders – show how “opportunistic experiments” can build evidence by incorporating rigorous research studies into the normal course of action. This approach to conducting randomized controlled trials (RCTs) takes advantage of planned interventions or policy actions, all with minimal cost and disruption.

The guide for researchers defines opportunistic experiments, provides examples, discusses issues to consider when identifying potential experiments, and outlines the critical steps to completing opportunistic experiments. The guide concludes with a discussion of the potentially low cost of conducting opportunistic experiments and the potentially high cost of not conducting them. Readers also will find a checklist of key questions to consider when conducting opportunistic experiments.

The guide for education leaders shows how schools and school districts can recognize opportunities to embed experiments into planned policies or programs. The guide also outlines the key steps for conducting RCTs and responds to common questions and concerns about these types of studies. Readers will find a real life example of how one district took advantage of an opportunity to learn about the impact of a summer reading program.

Read the guide for researchers at

Read the guide for education leaders at

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