Mathematica Provides Comments on Bipartisan Draft ESRA Reauthorization Bill

Mathematica provided comments to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee regarding its draft bipartisan legislation called the Advancing Research in Education Act (AREA). The legislation would reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA), which supports much of the federal government’s efforts to collect statistics and conduct research on the U.S. educational system.

AREA aligns with recommendations made by Mathematica earlier this year, including clearer delineation between the scope of responsibilities for regional Comprehensive Centers (CCs) and Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs).

In its December 6 comments to the HELP Committee, Mathematica provided several suggestions, including:

  • Removing references to “statistical significance” in the definition of “evidence-based” to avoid misinterpretation of findings and provide better insights—in accordance with American Statistical Association guidance to avoid the misuse of statistical significance testing.
  • Clarifying the roles and extent of collaboration between the National Education Research Database (NERD) and the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) on setting evidence standards, conducting evidence reviews, and reporting on findings from research studies.
  • Providing IES with the flexibility to award REL contracts of up to seven years, rather than five years.