How can we improve evaluations used for special education programs?

Improving special education programs by improving program evaluations


In recent years, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has emphasized the use of evidence-based practices as well as research-driven accountability (RDA). This emphasis has become integral to OSEP’s assessment of its grant programs and of individual grantees.

For OSEP, Westat is providing the technical assistance that grantees and project officers need to ensure that program and project evaluations produce reliable, objective, and rigorous data that can be used to describe the projects’ achievements, help the projects improve, and demonstrate valid results.


We are providing the following assistance

  • Developing evaluation-related tools and products—such as a tool to help projects demonstrate evidence of results, an evaluation toolkit, and guidelines for working with external evaluators—to help grantees and project officers better understand how to design and conduct high-quality evaluations
  • Using webinars and conference presentations to share evaluation strategies and methods with grantees and project officers
  • Offering an array of supports to help OSEP grantees with their evaluations


OSEP grantees will be better able to

  • Collect, report, analyze, and use high-quality data for project evaluations
  • Design and conduct high-quality evaluations

OSEP project officers will be better able to

  • Monitor the grantees’ progress and achievements
  • Judge the effectiveness of their grant programs


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