Preparing students to compete globally, act compassionately, and work together to solve the world’s most pressing problems creates enormous challenges for today’s schools. The Educational Policy and Practice program area produces a broad array of nationally recognized research and training opportunities designed to improve the K-12 educational experience and outcomes for students with and without disabilities. Areas of focus include improving national, state, and district assessments; evaluating and researching ways to improve special education policy and practice; making teachers more effective and schools more inclusive for students with disabilities, English learners, and English learners with disabilities; improving literacy rates for at-risk students, and lowering dropout rates. Check & Connect, ICI’s highly successful student engagement intervention program, has been implemented in 48 states and five international locations since the 1990s and has demonstrated decreased truancy, increased credits accrued, and higher school completion rates. 

Expertise in this area includes extensive experience in evaluating multi-site, statewide, and national programs aimed at improving educational outcomes for children, especially children with disabilities. Staff have knowledge across a variety of evaluation, research design, and statistical methodologies. 

In addition, this program area includes multi-year evaluations of U.S. Department of Education research and development grants, multiple state agency evaluations of personnel development grants, and multiple state-based educational improvement projects. We also conduct state-wide surveys examining the nature and range of a variety of special education policies and practices. Work in this area has included studies of the supply and demand of Speech and Language Pathologists, whether schools facilitated parental involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities, and post-school outcomes.

This expertise informs the technical assistance we provide to education agencies, creating special education delivery systems that are focused on improving student outcomes and enhancing professional development programs at the local level.