Executive Director, Queensland Catholic Education Commission
Last week I attended the Evidence Exchange organised by Evidence for Learning and participated in a panel discussion. This event was an important opportunity to examine the practical uses of data in informing and enhancing teaching practice and student outcomes. The panel discussion was based on the topic 'Understanding the importance of collective effort to ensure growth within the Evidence Ecosystem'.
The quality of the presentations and the discussions throughout the day highlighted the growing maturity across all levels and sectors of education in the use of data and evidence to inform practice. In the words of one practitioner from Tasmania,
We are moving from ‘I reckon’ to ‘I know’.
Evidence for Learning is a relatively recent group, operating as a non-profit organisation, which specialises in translating evidence and then helping support implementation in real world settings. It is closely connected to the UK Education Endowment Foundation and provides easy access to the Toolkit which is an accessible, teacher-friendly summary of educational research (a bit like Choice magazine for teachers). The Toolkit is practice focused and provides school with a repository of information to support evidence based decisions. The Toolkit is based on meta-analyses of research reviews undertaken regularly and systematically by the University of Durham and provides resources to complement the expertise of teachers.
The practitioner presentations were interesting and gave good insight into the challenges and rewards of systemically embedding evidence informed practice to bring about targeted change. The presentation from Montrose High School in Tasmania on the use of Guttman Charts in combination with the NAPLAN writing guide and NAPLAN data highlighted the value of a focused, manageable process, refined over time, with clear measurable student learning outcome improvements.
The Evidence for Learning Toolkit is being updated every six months and enhanced with an Australasian research summary under each heading. Evidence for Learning are also supporting school based research.
*Article first published in Commission Communique.