Improving use of evidence-based practices to better support students
Using evidence-based practices in the classroom is easier said than done. There is broad consensus in the research community that certain practices such as formative assessment and explicit instruction improve student outcomes. But these practices are often complex and hard to implement, involving many different elements. How well a teacher uses the elements that make up a particular practice can vary depending on many things, including levels of experience and career development.
Tools to improve practice
Teachers, schools and education systems across Australia all have a shared goal of improving student outcomes. One way to do this is by increasing the use of evidence-based practices, and improving how well they are used.
A challenge that teachers, schools, and education systems face, however, is measuring how much and how well evidence-based practices are used.
AERO has discovered that many systems and sectors across Australia use tools such as school improvement models, surveys and frameworks to better understand the use of evidence in schools. However, few systems and sectors have agreed on definitions of evidence-based practice, nor do they regularly measure use of such practices. Some tools already exist to measure the use of different teaching practices, but many of these have been developed for research purposes, or to support general reflections on practice. Additionally, not all these tools are rigorously tested to confirm they are valid, reliable and fit for purpose. They also often don’t provide enough detail to support teachers to determine if they are implementing evidence-based practices in the most effective way.
We’ve recently published draft rubrics designed to support teachers and their teams to implement evidence-based practices effectively. They provide a shared language for describing two evidence-based practices: formative assessment and explicit instruction. The rubrics break down these practices into discrete, observable elements that have been proven to enhance teacher practice and support student learning. The developmental nature of the rubrics mean that teachers can pick them up and use them, regardless of whether they have never before used that practice in their classroom, or they are extremely experienced in the practice.
The rubrics are a work in progress. We are currently testing them to make sure they are valid and reliable, and we’ll continue to refine them based on your feedback as well.