The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) opens new possibilities for federal support of efforts to improve school leadership. The law’s requirements are complicated, however, requiring in some cases that applicants for funding present a “logic model” that depicts the links between the activity for which they are seeking ESSA dollars and the outcomes the activity is supposed to produce.

This RAND guide unpacks what’s behind ESSA-required logic models, providing a step-by-step guide for understanding how they work and how they can be applied to six types of school leadership interventions: principal preparation programs, strategic staff management, professional learning, leader evaluation systems, working conditions and school improvement. The publication also provides sample logic models for each intervention.

The guide—targeted at state and school district policymakers, among others—is a companion to a separate RAND publication about ESSA. That publication both explains the law’s complex requirements regarding the rigor of evidence needed for funding-eligible activities and describes a number of school leadership activities that meet the evidence mandates. Logic models come into play as allowed evidence in the least stringent of four categories of evidence rigor defined by the law.

Logic models are useful not only for ESSA planning but also for helping educators clearly define the problems they want to tackle, think through the steps needed to solve them and decide whether particular activities lead logically to the desired results.  

 Points of Interest

  • A RAND guide to ESSA funding unpacks what local and state education policymakers need to know about creating logic models showing the link between activities to promote school leadership and hoped-for outcomes.
    RAND guide to ESSA funding unpacks what’s behind creating logic models showing link to school leadership activities and hoped-for outcomes.
  • A RAND guide makes clear that one important step in creating a logic model is to describe the problem an intervention seeks to address.
    RAND guide: A key step in creating a logic model is describing the problem an intervention seeks to address.

 Supplementary Materials