23 SES 06 A, Evidence and Practice
Recent years have seen not only a burgeoning of educational data available to schools and teachers but also an increased push toward 'evidence-based practice' across many national jurisdictions (Goldacre, 2013; Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012). While contemporary debates around evidence-based practice in education are well-rehearsed (see, for example, Biesta, 2007; Hammersley, 1997, 2009; Hargreaves, 1996; Mockler & Groundwater-Smith, 2018, forthcoming), critiques of the notion share a critical questioning of the essential nature of 'evidence', and what constitutes appropriate evidence of practice in relation to teaching, eschewing the narrow constructions of evidence so often invoked by proponents of evidence-based practice.
The increased prevalence of and focus on educational data has also seen the emergence of discussions of 'research literacy' for teachers, defined as:
…the extent to which teachers and school and college leaders are familiar with a range of research methods, with the latest research findings and with the implications of this research for their day-to-day practice, and for education policy and practice more broadly. To be research literate is to ‘get’ research – to understand why it is important and what might be learnt from it, and to maintain a sense of critical appreciation and healthy scepticism throughout (Furlong, Menter, Munn, Whitty, Hallgarten, & Johnson, 2014, p.40).
Until recently, initial teacher education has not explicitly sought to build teacher research literacy, and in-service teachers have not been well-equipped to collect, analyse or interpret educational data (Mills & Goos, 2017), despite the ongoing policy rhetoric around evidence-based practice. Further recent research has highlighted systemic and professional barriers to teachers using and conducting educational research in their classrooms in different national contexts such as Canada (Lysenko, Abrami, Bernard, Dagenais, & Janosz, 2014) the UK (Evans, 2017), Turkey (Beycioglu, Ozer, & Ugurlu, 2010) and Greece (Papasotiriou & Hannan, 2006). These barriers are identified variously as relating to contextual factors (such as school and system expectations and support) and to individual factors (such as personal orientations toward research and professional confidence in one’s capacity to interpret and conduct research).
This paper reports on a broader study exploring Australian teachers’ relationship to educational data, evidence and research in the context of the ongoing drive toward evidence-based or evidence-informed practice. The study aims to explore questions around how teachers understand and engage with educational research and data and how they understand and collect evidence of their practice. This paper focuses on the construction of 'evidence' in contemporary Australian education policy, and the enactment of 'evidence-based practice' on the part of teachers, with particular focus on the mediating role of teachers' research literacy. Conceptually, it draws on the theory of practice architectures (Kemmis, Wilkinson, Edwards-Groves, Hardy, Grootenboer, & Bristol, 2014), which understands practice as situated and subject to the specific cultural-discursive, material-economic and social-political ‘arrangements’ that exist within the site of practice, to theorise the ways in which teachers 'perform' evidence-based practice, and how these performances are shaped by teachers' research literacy.
Constructions of 'evidence' in Australian education policy were interrogated through a critical and systematic analysis of a range of 'governing texts' (Smith, 2005) that organise the work of contemporary Australian teachers. These include the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012a), the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012b), and the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership 'Research and Evidence' website (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2018). This analysis is laid alongside data gathered via interviews with 20 Australian primary and secondary school teachers from different school and system contexts. Interviews probed teachers' engagement with educational research; participation in classroom-based practitioner inquiry or action research; use of educational data; and conceptualisation of good evidence of practice. Interviews were transcribed and subjected to both deductive and inductive qualitative data analysis, using a start list of codes derived from a prior literature review. These codes were iteratively expanded and drawn together into themes, with NVivo used to support the qualitative data analysis.
The research suggests that teachers enact 'evidence-based practice' in a range of different ways, influenced not only by the particularities of their school and system contexts (or sites of practice), but also by their orientation toward, knowledge of, and confidence in working with research, evidence and data. Furthermore, it finds that these different policy enactments resonate to differing extents with the 'official' constructions of evidence identified in the policy documents, and suggests that teachers' levels of research literacy, as identified through the interviews, plays a mediating role in their enactment of evidence-based practice. It concludes with some related recommendations for teacher professional learning to support the development of robust research literacy skills with critical and transformative intent. These findings have implications not only for the Australian context but for teachers in all jurisdictions where a drive toward evidence-based practice, located within narrow conceptualisations of 'evidence', is occurring, including the United Kingdom and United States.
Beycioglu, K., Ozer, N., & Ugurlu, C. (2010). Teachers' views on educational research. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(4), 1088-1093. Biesta, G. (2007). Why 'what works' won't work: Evidence-based practice and the democratic deficit in educational research. Educational Theory, 57(1), 1-22. Evans, C. (2017). Early career teachers’ research literacy: what does it look like and what elements support its development in practice? Research Papers in Education, 32(4), 540-551. doi:10.1080/02671522.2017.1324013 Furlong, J., Menter, I., Munn, P., Whitty, G., Hallgarten, J., & Johnson, N. (2014). Research and the Teaching Profession: Building the capacity for a self-improving education system. London: BERA. Goldacre, B. (2013). Building Evidence into Education. Retrieved from London: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/building-evidence-into-education Hammersley, M. (1997). Educational Research and Teaching: A Response to David Hargreaves' TTA Lecture. British Educational Research Journal, 23, 141-161. Hammersley, M. (2009). What is evidence for evidence based practice? . In H. Otto, A. Polutta, & H. Ziegler (Eds.), Evidence-based Practice: Modernising the Knowledge Base of Social Work? (pp. 139-150). Opladen: Barbara Budrich Publishers. Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional capital: Transforming teaching in every school. New York: Teachers College Press. Hargreaves, D. (1996). Teaching as a Research Based Profession. London: Teacher Training Agency. Kemmis, S., Wilkinson, J., Edwards-Groves, C., Hardy, I., Grootenboer, P., & Bristol, L. (2014). Changing Practices, Changing Education. Dordrecht: Springer. Lysenko, L. V., Abrami, P. C., Bernard, R. M., Dagenais, C., & Janosz, M. (2014). Educational research in educational practice: Predictors of use. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue canadienne de l’éducation, 37(2), 1-26. Mills, M., & Goos, M. (2017). The Place of Research in Teacher Education? An Analysis of the Australian Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group Report Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers. In M. Peters, B. Cowie, & I. Menter (Eds.), A companion to research in teacher education (pp. 637-650). Dordrecht: Springer. Mockler, N., & Groundwater-Smith, S. (2018, forthcoming). Questioning hr Language of Reform and Improvement in Education: Reclaiming Meaning. London: Routledge. Papasotiriou, C., & Hannan, A. (2006). The impact of education research on teaching: the perceptions of Greek primary school teachers. Teacher Development, 10(3), 361-377. Smith, D. (2005). Institutional ethnography: A sociology for people: Rowman Altamira.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.