The Department of Education has identified a limited number of priority goals that will be a particular focus over the next two years. These goals, which will help measure the success of the Department's cradle-to-career education strategy, reflect the importance of teaching and learning at all levels of the education system. These goals are consistent with the Department's five-year Strategic Plan and will be used to regularly monitor and report progress. To view information on all Department programs, please visit www.ed.gov.
Guiding Principle: Using Evidence to Drive Improvements in Policies and Programs
The effective implementation of the Department's priority and strategic goals will depend, in part, on the effective use of high-quality and timely data, including evaluations and performance measures, throughout the lifecycle of policies and programs. The Department is committed to increasing the number of programs and initiatives that are evaluated using methods that include those consistent with the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards, and incorporating cost-effectiveness measures into evaluations and program improvement systems.
Increase college degree attainment in America
By Sept. 30, 2015, 45.6 percent of adults ages 25-34 will have an associate degree or higher, which will place the nation on track to reach the president's goal of 60 percent degree attainment by 2020.
Support implementation of college- and career-ready standards and assessments
By Sept. 30, 2015, at least 50 states and territories [ 1 ] will be implementing next-generation assessments, aligned with college- and career-ready standards.
Improve learning by ensuring that more students have effective teachers and leaders
By Sept. 30, 2015, at least 37 states will have fully implemented teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that consider multiple measures of effectiveness, with student growth as a significant factor.
Ensure equitable educational opportunities
By Sept. 30, 2015, the number of high schools with persistently low graduation rates [ 2 ] will decrease by 5 percent annually. The national high school graduation rate will increase to 83 percent, as measured by the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate, and disparities in the national high school graduation rate among minority students, students with disabilities, English learners, and students in poverty will decrease.
- Support comprehensive early learning assessment systems
By Sept. 30, 2015, at least nine states will be collecting and reporting disaggregated data on the status of children at kindergarten entry using a common measure.
Enable evidence-based decision making
By Sept. 30, 2015, the percentage of select new [ 3 ] (non-continuation) competitive grant dollars that reward evidence will increase by 70 percent.
For more information on the Department's FY 2014-15 Priority Goals, please go to www.Performance.gov.
In addition to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other territories are candidates for implementing these assessments.
Consistent with the ESEA Flexibility definition, persistently low graduation rate is defined as a less than 60 percent graduation rate. Persistently low graduation rate high schools are defined as regular and vocational high schools with an average minimum cohort size of 65 or more, and an average ACGR of 60 percent or less over two years.
"New competitive grant dollars that reward evidence" includes all dollars awarded based on the existence of at least "evidence of promise" in support of a project, per the framework in the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (34 CFR Part 75). Consideration of such evidence appears through: eligibility threshold (e.g., in the Investing in Innovation program); absolute priority; competitive priority (earning at least one point for it); or selection criteria (earning at least one point for it). The percentage is calculated compared to the total new grant dollars awarded, excluding awards made by the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and technical assistance centers, with some exceptions.