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ESSA's Four Levels of Evidence

The Every Student Succeeds Act defines four tiers of evidence, directing grantees to spend funds on practices with higher levels of evidence where the evidence base is strong, while allowing grantees to spend funds on all levels where the evidence base is developing.

The top three levels require at least one study that found a statistically significant effect on improving student outcomes or other relevant outcomes. The specific level of evidence (1-3) depends on the study’s design:

Levels of Evidence: Levels 1, 2, and 3

The forth level of evidence includes ideas that do not yet have an evidence base qualifying for the top 3 levels. Given the requirement in the 2nd bullet below to examine the effects of these ideas, this level can be referred to as “evidence-building.”

Levels of Evidence: Level 4