Our ‘Tried and Tested’ series covers education practices that have been proven to make a difference to learning outcomes for children and students.
The guides are written for teachers and educators, supporting ongoing professional development across key evidence-based practices. They can be read individually or together. Each guide is carefully sequenced, providing a step-by-step outline of how to effectively implement the practices.
How to use these guides
You can use these guides in a variety of ways.
- If you are a new educator or teacher, you may use the guides to learn about how to implement certain practices that may be new to you, or to reflect and refine your practice.
- If you are experienced, you may use these guides as a reminder or to gain new ideas for your own practice, or for instructional coaching and mentoring.
- The guides could also be used in collaborative practice as part of informal or formal professional learning.
As part of AERO’s ongoing work, we will be undertaking research into how teachers and educators use these guides in practice. We will use the findings to inform future directions, including how we support you to most effectively use evidence to improve practice.
Why are they important?
These guides are particularly important in light of the disruptions to learning as a result of COVID-19. Disadvantaged students and children are likely to have had the greatest learning losses during shutdowns associated with COVID-19. The practices in the guides have been proven to work quickly and effectively with this cohort, as well as others.
Can I trust these practices?
These guides only include practices that have been proven to work.
AERO has synthesised the most rigorous and relevant evidence-based practices from meta-analyses, systematic reviews and literature reviews. We have rated these sources of information against our Standards of evidence, focusing on evidence generated in an Australian context where possible.
Each individual guide has an annotated reference list outlining the evidence base. At times, some of the information in our resources draws on older seminal texts that inform later developments in the evidence base. We balance this information with more recent studies when presenting the evidence base.
The Tried and Tested guides complement and support existing Australian resources such as the Australian Professional Standards for Teaching, the Early Years Learning Framework and guidance offered by schools and systems. Some specific guidance that may be relevant to you:
- Teachers and leaders in ACT government schools are encouraged to consider these resources within the wider framework set out in Enabling Pedagogies, accessible with their system log-in.
- Teachers and leaders in the Independent sector are encouraged to read these resources in conjunction with pedagogical guidance provided by their Association.
An educational approach is effective if it causes 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).
A systematic review is an evidence-based (or ‘objective’) approach to a literature review. Systematic reviews answer a precise, clearly defined question to produce evidence to underpin a piece of research. A systematic review must explicitly outline: the methods for data collection, the methods for data extraction, the number of papers included in the review, and the methods for data analysis.
Research is ‘the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies, inventions and understandings’ (Australian Research Council, 2015). There are many types of research. For example:
- exploratory research involves investigating an issue or problem. It aims to better understand this problem and sometimes leads to the formation of hypotheses or theories about the problem.
- descriptive research describes a population, situation or event that is being studied. It focuses on developing knowledge about what exists and what is happening.
- causal research (also known as ‘evaluative research’) uses experimentation to determine whether a cause-and-effect relationship exists between two or more elements, features or factors.
- synthesis research combines, compares and links existing information to provide a summary and/or new insights or information about a given topic.
A literature review identifies, evaluates and synthesises the relevant literature within a particular field of research. It usually discusses common and emerging approaches, notable patterns and trends, areas of conflict and controversies, and gaps within the relevant literature. Literature reviews do not usually explicitly state the methods used to identify, evaluate or synthesise the relevant literature.