The mission of the Education Innovation Institute (EII) is to provide products, programs, and services that build the capacity of decision-makers in the educational system, including school leaders, researchers, and policymakers, to routinely generate and use meaningful evidence for effective resource allocation in the running and governing of schools.
Information about the Colorado legislation that created EII and reports to the legislature can be found here.
In pursuit of this mission, EII provides training, technical assistance, and evaluation support for education stakeholders in Colorado and beyond wishing to rigorously evaluate their programs as part of the continuous improvement processes.
- Technical assistance through the Evaluating What Works resource page
- The online graduate certificate in Applied Causal Evaluation of Policy and Innovation
- Personalized, reciprocal partnerships with districts and other education stakeholders to enhance the capacity to evaluate what works in schools
- A secure computing environment for UNC affiliates conducting research using education data covered by federal and state privacy laws
The gold standard of causal evaluation is the randomized control trial, or RCT. Although RCTs have been used for decades to advance human understanding in the medical profession, it is quite new—though equally important—in the field of education. Just as when RCTs began in medicine, there are very real ethical and political barriers to using RCTs in schools. However, these concerns can and must be thoughtfully managed to move society’s understanding forward about what works in education. A key part of addressing such concerns is to supplement the RCT with a substantive examination of the conditions under which a program is being implemented. Such a mixed method design can help educators understand why a program worked or not in their particular setting to inform the continuous improvement process. EII provides hands-on support for schools as they bump against these barriers in their efforts to improve student outcomes while maximizing the return on investment for taxpayers.