Helping great practice become common practice in Australian schools

Year: 2017

Author: Vaughan, Tanya

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Helping great practice become common practice in Australian schools
Evidence for Learning (E4L) helps educators increase learning by improving the evidence of what works and why. We are an evidence intermediary operating in the Australian primary and secondary school sector (5-18 year olds). We are independent, non-profit, national and cross-sectoral. We focus on building, sharing and encouraging the use of evidence.
To encourage the use of evidence there needs to be a thriving evidence ecosystem in Australia that is driven by frontline professionals (school leaders and teachers). The frontline professional is central to the evidence ecosystem, driving the research agenda and informing policy making through continuous evaluation of the impact on student progression in their school.
To support and strengthen the evidence ecosystem, E4L has looked to implementation science. To date, E4L has focused on contextual factors at the macro, school and individual level which is facilitated through quarterly governance meetings and regular stakeholder engagement. This engagement is growing from a workshop format to engaging with individuals and groups of schools in ways that are useful to the individual frontline professionals.
E4L is making its work responsive to context though four mechanisms; 1) Australasian Research Summaries to compliment the global evidence base; 2) tailored Toolkits to produce a further localised entry point into the evidence through policy and programs specific to the localised context of the frontline professional; 3) workshops and presentations facilitating meaningful engagement of frontline professionals with the Teaching & Learning Toolkit; and 4) the Practice Guide on Feedback.
The first 12 months of Evidence for Learning's operations has seen a strong growth in engagement with the Toolkit by the profession with more than 8,500 people accessing the Toolkit four or more times within the past year. The work of Evidence for Learning and the uptake of its resources shows there is appetite at the macro, school and individual level to engage with evidence. At this early stage, it is unknown whether sustained engagement with the Toolkit is leading to increased evidence-based practice within classrooms.