The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) sought public input on activities to support the Department’s evidence-building plan, referred to as a Learning Agenda with six key areas.
On September 16, SPARC submitted comments suggesting envidence-building activities the Department can undertake to leverage Open Educational Resources (OER) to promote equity in access to educational resources and increase postsecondary access, affordability, and completion. SPARC also outlined questions and areas in need of more evidence related to the traditional textbook market and the impact of inclusive access models on students. The letter to the Department can be found here.
The Department specifically asked for input on (1) the most important questions about which evidence should be built in each area; (2) specific evidence-building activities that should be undertaken, either by the Department or by others with the capacity to do so, to answer those questions; and (3) areas not listed below to which the Department should pay particular attention as it refines its FY 2022-2026 Learning Agenda during this and future fiscal years. The six areas of the Learning Agenda are:
- Addressing the impact of COVID-19 on students, schools and institutions of higher education, educators, and their communities;
- Promoting equity in student access to educational resources, opportunities, and welcoming, safe, and inclusive environments;
- Meeting student social, emotional, mental health, basic, and academic needs;
- Increasing postsecondary education access, affordability, completion, and post-enrollment success;
- Supporting a well-prepared diverse educator workforce and their professional growth to strengthen student learning; and
- Improving Federal student aid programs.
The Department’s efforts to develop a Learning Agenda are part of its implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 which requires Federal agencies to develop “a systematic plan for identifying and addressing policy questions relevant to the programs, policies, and regulations of the agency.”