What is education evidence and how can we use it more effectively in schools and early childhood services?
Educators and policymakers make dozens of decisions every day to improve outcomes for children and students.
There are many research reports, articles, ideas and resources that recommend what teachers and educators should do. But how can teachers be sure what they choose to do will work? How do they decide between one approach or another? The answer is: evidence.
The Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) defines evidence broadly as ‘anything that can be used to support claims about the effectiveness of a particular educational practice, program or policy’.
There are many types of evidence available to educators, including insights drawn from assessments, observations of children and students, recommendations from colleagues and experts, and findings from research studies and syntheses.
Evidence helps us to become more certain about our decisions. Some evidence can help us become more confident about the effectiveness of a particular play-based practice, teaching practice or resource; other evidence may give us less confidence about a practice or resource, if, for example, the associated research was less rigorous or conducted in a very different context to our own.
Educators, teachers and policymakers can draw upon evidence and apply it to their specific context so they can feel more confident that they are making the best decisions for their students. However, it is complex knowing how to evaluate the rigour and contextual relevance of the existing evidence base, and it takes time and effort to do so.
AERO has been created to help busy educators find and access evidence that will help improve learning outcomes for children and young people across Australia. AERO aims to assist educators, teachers, leaders and policymakers to use evidence effectively and become more confident decision-makers.
By generating and making high-quality evidence accessible and enhancing the use of evidence in Australian education, AERO is working towards excellent and equitable outcomes for all children and young people.