The Rural Schools Association of New York

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RESOURCE: Child Trends What Works Database of Evidence-Backed Programs

“Best practices” are those that local professionals deem anecdotally as those that get desired results. For example, in my community, it makes a BIG difference in whether the local psychiatric unit will admit a suicidal teen if I can call someone at the unit who knows who I am, and express my concern.

“Evidence-based practices and programs” are those that were informed by research when designed. It does NOT mean that evidence shows there are effective at reaching stated goals.

“Evidence backed practices and programs” are those that DO achieve their stated goals. Before implementing any new programs or practices in your schools, I strongly recommend asking questions about whether the program achieves stated goals, AND making sure some of those goals have lasting impact. For example, increasing attendance may be a goal, but it is an intermediary goal, in that merely showing up does not mean learning occurred. Similarly, increased test scores, while very important to some, does not mean students can use the information in real life.

There are research organizations that will assess programs for effectiveness, and Child Trends is one of them. It is an overall useful website, but if you just want to cut to the chase and find a program that has been shown to work, click here.

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