Assess Equity in Education

The following products and services are related to assessing equity in education, an element of our Education team’s Equity-Building Framework: Assess, Implement, and Maintain (AIM).

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 for more information about the framework.

Equity Readiness Assessment

We employ the Leadership Equity Readiness Assessment tool to better understand a leadership team’s readiness to address institutional racism, bias, special education service delivery, and other aspects of equity.  

Curriculum Equity Reviews/Audits

We are actively engaged in helping schools, districts, and states across the U.S. to improve teaching and learning through the careful analysis of curriculum and instruction and action planning.

Curriculum reviews/audits are designed to examine specific content areas and grade bands.                   

They include:

  • A program review that provides insights into the curriculum and its implementation through surveys, focus groups, and interviews; review of guidance; and student data
  • A written curriculum audit that provides a detailed examination of curriculum documents to determine the alignment of the curriculum and curriculum-embedded assessments with standards
  • A taught-curriculum audit that reviews classroom-level implementation of the curriculum through observations
  • A learned-curriculum audit that reviews student work samples and state assessment results

The review/audit culminates in a final report of findings and includes an action planning phase to establish goals based on audit results and next steps. The final report is designed to support the exposure of rigorous, standards-aligned curriculum and instruction to all students.

Equity Audits

Our Education team works with school districts and state education agencies across the U.S. to conduct equity-focused program and system audits. These audits identify mechanisms that promote closing the opportunity gap and creating a more equitable educational experience for each student.

Our equity audits examine successes and challenges in the following areas of education:

  • Policy and practices
  • Resource allocation and processes
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Human Resources practices and professional learning
  • Student outcomes and program engagement
  • District/school climate and culture

Audit methodology draws on both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Our Education team collects data using surveys, focus groups, interviews, and district, school- and student-level data. Instrument development, interview methods, focus-group facilitation, and the selected analytic method we use with each type of data meet the standards of rigorous research.

Our multiple-method approach is designed to triangulate data in order to produce findings that are credible and valid and identify areas of agreement and divergence.

Analysis of data is systematic based on the most appropriate research methods and produces insights that can proactively inform program implementation; determine gaps; offer recommendations for continued improvement; and produce findings that clients can use to inform their decision-making. We also provide support with action planning to help school district and state education agency leaders implement recommendations with fidelity and support alignment of resources to key priority areas.

Click here to learn more about our equity audit approach in education.

Special Education, Inclusion, and Intervention Projects

We strongly believe in high-level achievement for students with disabilities through optimal services and supports and equitable access to high-quality instruction in an inclusive environment.

Our special education consulting work focuses on the following key areas:

  • Special education program and process reviews to help states and districts improve special education and equitable outcomes
  • Student outcomes strengthened by improved program delivery and capacity building through inclusive education

We help educators meet the unique needs of students with disabilities through implementation of best practices in areas such as:

  • Universal design for learning
  • Collaborative supports for inclusion in the general education setting
  • Assistive and instructional technologies
  • Standards-based/instructionally appropriate individualized education programs (IEPs)
  • Co-teaching models
  • Research-based intervention aligned with student skills
  • Assessment to measure student achievement and effective progress monitoring
  • The Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

Our philosophy for guiding the transformation of special education in schools and districts is driven by the U.S. Department of Education’s Results Driven Accountability (RDA) framework1 and key tenets of the Equity in Special Education Placement: School Self-Assessment Guide for Culturally Responsive Practice2 developed by the National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRESt) and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Our approach is multi-dimensional in scope and designed to increase the use of prevention and early intervention strategies. It guides schools to be culturally responsive in their programming and instruction. The goal is to optimize achievement for all students, including students with disabilities and students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. 

Equity Snapshots

Our team provides an equity snapshot for school districts, which focuses on short-term examination of one or more areas in our equity and inclusion framework for education.

An equity snapshot can include analyses of the following:

  • Characteristics of students and staff
  • Access to high-quality programming and teachers
  • Distribution of funding and resources
  • Disciplinary procedures and distribution
  • Student achievement resources and programs
  • Staff and student perceptions of the district’s culture and climate

Our methodology for equity snapshots, like equity audits, includes data collection through surveys and community conversations.

Culturally Responsive Teacher and Leader Surveys

We partner with school districts to conduct surveys, so districts can better understand teacher and leader readiness to learn about and employ culturally responsive practices in classrooms and schools.

Strategic Planning and Community Engagement

Our Education team works in partnership with school districts and education agencies across the U.S. to design effective strategic plans by understanding community priorities, defining organizational goals around system capabilities, and developing action plans with recommended measures of success.

We offer consulting services to help districts and state education agencies build meaningful action plans rooted in equity that support key academic and financial imperatives while incorporating nationally recognized best practices and innovations.

A key aspect of our work is the ability to facilitate community conversation, collecting perceptual and empirical data from stakeholders throughout the school district and surrounding community. We conduct focus groups and interviews and utilize other methods of outreach. Also, we utilize various data collection methods to support the representation of many different constituent voices in an equitable way.

Our approach offers school districts and state agencies the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive, inclusive, and transparent strategic planning process to move toward validating and refining their vision of future education in their community.

English Language Learner (ELL) Frameworks

We’re ready to be your district partner to address the heightened and complex challenges that schools face with providing English language learners with a high-quality, equitable education.

Our ELL Instructional Framework expands on Stanford University’s Key Principles for ELL Instruction.3 It is the foundation of our work with district and school leaders to examine, design, and plan implementation of district supports for English language learners.

We provide research-based, data-informed instructional practices to teachers who support ELL students—to build English language literacy, fluency, and competence. Our team has developed a resource guide entitled, “10 Language and Literacy Practices to Support Second Language Learning Across the Curriculum.” These literacy practices demonstrate day-to-day scaffolding supports for teacher language in tandem with content.

Organizational Reviews Through an Equity Lens

Our Education team has a proven track record of analyzing policies and business processes for efficiencies and improvements—to promote equity in public education. We understand the issues that educational organizations face and work closely with our client partners to use data to improve programs and outcomes to better serve all students.

This work focuses on:

  1. Education program and process reviews to help states’ early childhood agencies and agencies serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) to improve performance
  2. Program delivery strengthened by supporting equitable access through a focus on child and family outcomes
  3. Strategic planning and cost analysis through which we help states’ early childhood and K-12 agencies evaluate available funding streams and analyze expenditures


1 “Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. “RDA: Results Driven Accountability.” U.S. Department of Education. Accessed September 13, 2022,
2 Richards, Heraldo V., Artiles, Alfredo J., Klingner, Janette, and Ayanna Brown. “Equity in Education Placement: A School Self-Assessment Guide for Culturally Responsive Practice.” National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems. Accessed September 13, 2022.
3 Stanford University, Understanding Language. “Key Principles for ELL Instruction.” Stanford Graduate School of Education. Accessed January 11, 2022.