The United States Department of Education funds comprehensive centers to deliver technical assistance to state education agencies to strengthen their capacity to perform their responsibilities. One of these centers, the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center (ARCC), delivers technical assistance to agencies in four states. Annually, the ARCC conducts a comprehensive evaluation, into which a case study component was introduced in the third year. A multiple case study approach offered to enhance the evaluation's capacity to encompass and describe the complexity of the ARCC program. We identified one case initiative per agency, selecting those with the most potential to shed light on the practice of capacity building. Across the four cases, we eventually detected five issues: capacity building, staffing, communication, defining the work, and sustainability. Their identification enhanced our understanding of the ways that capacity building technical assistance (TA) operated in different contexts, enabling us to offer feedback to staff and leadership that could improve the design of TA.

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