Speaking as part of an internet-based telecast sponsored by the Consortium for School Networking on Oct. 16, top education officials attempted to define the meaning of "scientifically based research" by explaining what schools must do to comply with this portion of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

The law specifies that all federally funded education initiatives deployed in grades three to eight be proven effective by way of "scientifically based research." So if a school district uses federal grant money to purchase reading software, for example, the software in question must be proven to

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