Virtual School Meanderings

September 6, 2018

REL Southeast Director’s Email—September 2018

Of all of the RELs, the REL Southeast has done more K-12 distance, online, and/or blended learning research than most.  Check out the “Ask a REL” feature.

September 2018
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Greetings from REL Southeast!

This month I would like to share how the REL Southeast helps state and local education agencies review and utilize research to better improve academic outcomes for students. Through various projects, products, and events, we strive to increase understanding of rigorous research design and why it matters. I invite you to explore how REL Southeast is sharing this knowledge through the resources below.

We look forward to continuing to share evidence-based projects and products with you in the future. Thank you for all of your work to improve education in the Southeast.

Dr. Barbara Foorman
Director, REL Southeast

REL Southeast Program Evaluation Micro-Credential Training

The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) requested the REL Southeast help support the department’s professional development efforts by creating a series of micro-credentials related to program evaluation. Agency leadership wants to increase the ability of its staff to apply rigorous evaluation techniques to both the process of implementing new programs and reviewing existing ones.
In consultation with the SCDE the REL Southeast identified five topics related to program evaluation.

  1. Understanding the research base
  2. Understanding research designs
  3. Planning implementation
  4. Interpreting results
  5. Creating a logic model

The materials for these micro-credentials will be hosted by SCDE on their professional development platform.

Learn more at:

Understanding ESSA Levels of Evidence

Speaker in front of audiencePeople often ask what the research says about improving education but rarely do they think about the fact that not all research is equal in quality. Although the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) encourages states and districts to use the highest quality research available to help struggling schools, figuring out what qualifies as strong evidence is challenging. The REL Southeast is helping the Florida Department of Education meet that challenge with coaching on the ESSA levels of evidence. Participants learn what it takes for a study to qualify as strong evidence along with key terms to identify its evidence level. Coaching sessions will continue throughout 2018 and beyond as requested.

Learn more at

Infographic Spotlight: Experimental Studies: Observing Strong Evidence

InfographicOne role of ESSA is to strengthen the effectiveness of the nation’s educational investments by encouraging the use of evidence-based interventions. To accomplish this, SEA and LEA staff must be able to evaluate the quality of the evidence for a particular intervention. In practical terms this often means reading and evaluating the level of evidence for a research article. However, many SEA and LEA staff are unfamiliar with research design standards and levels of evidence. To address this, REL Southeast is creating a series of infographics to address that gap in knowledge by breaking down the components of study design to help practitioners determine what materials are evidence-based.

The first infographic in this series describes experimental studies and addresses causality and causal inference, random assignment, and risks from attrition. View the infographic at:

InfographicThe second infographic in this series addresses quasi-experimental designs, the limits associated with non-random assignment, and the importance of baseline equivalence. View the infographic at:


Ask A REL is a collaborative reference desk service provided by the 10 regional educational laboratories (REL) that by design, functions much in the same way as a technical reference library. It provides references, referrals, and brief responses in the form of citations on research-based education questions.

To submit your question to Ask A REL, click here. Explore Ask A REL responses here.

You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website or provided your information at a REL Southeast sponsored event.

Our mailing address is:

REL Southeast at Florida State University

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