Asst Secretary Ochoa Promotes Best Practices

Recently Assistant Secretary of Education Ochoa addressed the national leaders of federally-funded TRIO programs concerning priorities of the Secretary of Education's Office. Among topics in his speech were the need to identify, validate, and disseminate (IVD) best practices of TRIO programs. Following is part of a news report of his speech that concerns IVD.

“In TRIO programs, students are empowered to perform and succeed and there are many promising programs that demonstrate that fact,” he said, pointing to the Upward Bound summer program at the University of South Carolina as an example. Through the program, graduating high school seniors can take a college-credit research methodology course taught by one of the university’s professors.

“We know that TRIO programs work. But in this age of accountability, knowing that these programs do well is not enough,” Ochoa said. “We will need to develop a body of evidence that both quantifies the impact and cost effectiveness of these programs and that can demonstrate that effectiveness to legislators, policymakers and the public.” The Education Department plans to enhance existing data collection activities to measure outcomes and impact, help identify best practices and disseminate the results to all its grantees. (emphasis mine).

“To improve student outcomes, we need to spur the field to come up with innovative solutions to address the completion challenge and improve higher education productivity, build evidence of what works through rigorous evaluations and scale up and disseminate those strategies that prove successful,” he said.

Source: Jones, Joyce. (2011, March 8). Ochoa Hails Catalytic Impact of TRIO Programs on K-12 Level. Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Retrieved from

It is good to see public statements such as this by the Department of Education. I have been advocating for such an  approach for nearly twenty years. Before budget  cuts in the mid 1990s, the Department funded the National Diffusion Network (NDN). It was responsible for identifying promising and best practices, vigorously validating them regarding effectiveness, and disseminating those validated programs with the rest of the education community. I directed the national Supplemental Instruction program which was the only higher education program validated by the NDN. We already have a proven formula for IVD through a similar process used by the old NDN. It is time to get started again with IVD. I am working with a regional education association to conduct a pilot test of IVD with education programs located within a geographical region. Check back with this blog for updates on the progress.