evidence (or education evidence) - Evidence is any type of information that supports an assertion, hypothesis or claim. There are many types of evidence in education, including insights drawn from child or student assessments, classroom observations, recommendations from popular education books and findings from research studies and syntheses. AERO refers to two types of evidence in its work:
- research evidence: This is academic research, such as causal research or synthesis research, which uses rigorous methods to provide insights into educational practice.
- practitioner-generated evidence: This is evidence generated through practitioners in their daily practice (for example, teacher observations, information gained from formative assessments or insights from student feedback on teacher practice).
data - Data is information that is collected and analysed in order to produce findings and/or to inform decision-making. Data can be qualitative (for example, teacher observations or quotes from students) or quantitative (for example, student test scores or attendance data).
qualitative methods - Qualitative methods involve collecting and analysing non-numerical data, and may include observations, interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, and documents and artifact analysis. Qualitative methods can be used to understand concepts, opinions or experiences as well as to gather in-depth insights into a problem or generate new ideas.
randomised control trial - A randomised control trial is a trial of a particular approach that is set up in such as a way that allows researchers to test its effects. In a randomised control trial, subjects are randomly assigned to one of two groups: one receiving the approach) that is being tested (the experimental group), and the other receiving an alternative approach or no approach (the comparison group or control). After the trial period, differences between the groups can be attributed to the approach being tested. Researchers and teachers who use randomisation must take into account ethical concerns, such as whether it is ethical to withhold treatment from subjects in the comparison group.
quasi-experimental design - A quasi-experimental design is a research methodology that aims to establish a ‘cause and effect’ relationship (that is, to determine the specific factors that influence an outcome), but it cannot completely eliminate all factors that could influence an outcome (that is, there may still be an element of subjectiveness in the findings).
effective/ness - An educational approach is effective if it causes (see causation above) a desired change in a particular outcome. This desired change can be an increase in an outcome (for example, increases in student achievement) or it can be a decrease in an outcome (for example, reduction in student absenteeism).