Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking Seeks Input on Data Use—Comments Due November 14
 
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October 2016

Th
e Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, created by bipartisan legislation passed in March 2016, is charged with producing a report that identifies how the federal government can enhance the use of data and evidence to improve federal programs and policies. The report is due to the president and Congress in September 2017, 15 months following the formation of the commission.

The commission has already held several meetings, including a public hearing on Friday, October 21, with additional meetings planned on “Key Issues Related to Evaluation” on November 4 and “Data Management & Infrastructure” on December 12. As the commissioners continue their work, they have requested comments on 19 questions across three broad categories: (1) overarching questions, (2) data infrastructure and access, and (3) data use in program design, management, research, evaluation, and analysis. For full details, see the notice in the Federal Register.

“These questions are all important,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “Particularly in our wheelhouse is the sequence related to data infrastructure and access, where AERA has played a leadership role in advancing data use consonant with secure data management plans and privacy protection.”

She also noted, “AERA’s definition of scientifically based research is guidance that is as sound today for evaluating programs and policy as it was when AERA Council issued it in 2008.”  

Of particular interest to the education research community are questions about access to data (questions #3-7), the definition of a ‘qualified researcher’ (#10), and the institutionalization of randomized control trials or quasi experimental designs (#19). AERA will submit responses to the questions on behalf of the field of education research. In addition, AERA staff is working with counterparts in the broader social and behavioral sciences community to coordinate how best to address shared concerns.

Comments must be submitted by November 14, 2016, through regulations.gov (Docket ID USBC-2016-0003).

 
 
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