Evidence for Education Network:Understanding and developing educators capacity to use evidence in Australia
Evidence for Learning
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  • Getting evidence moving in schools in Australia – Evidence for Learning

Getting Evidence Moving in Schools (GEMS) is a project developed by Evidence for Learning (E4L) in collaboration with Monash University and the Centre for Evidence and Implementation to improve how research is used in schools, as well as how schools’ use of evidence is researched. The project included 205 educational professionals across 24 primary schools in the states of New South Wales and Victoria in Australia.

The project first sought to understand the different factors which influence whether evidence is used in schools right from research design to implementation in the classroom drawing from the existing evidence base on research use and professional development. As part of the project E4L developed evidence-based resources on key topics in primary school literacy and numeracy, drawn from the global evidence base but contextualised for teachers in Australia with case studies and information on implementation in their education systems. With the support of external professional development providers it then examined different professional learning models to build educators’ capacity to use the evidence in those resources. Data was collected from practitioners, policymakers and professional development providers through a series of interviews, surveys, lesson and meeting observations as well as observations of teacher professional development sessions.

The project identified a series of barriers and enablers for evidence use in the Australian education system demonstrating how demanding a process it is for schools even when combined with different models of professional development support. The findings revealed the challenge for schools in finding relevant research, and even when they did it, it did not always lead to quality use of the evidence. All findings demonstrated evidence use to be a deliberate and complex process involving multiple actors and multiple stages.

Figure 2 Key enablers and barriers identified in GEMS schools
Key barriers and enablers for evidence use from GEMS schools

To support schools to use the findings of this project E4L developed a summary paper and accompanying tools to inform reflection and discussion on evidence use and its embedding into school improvement processes.

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About the project

If you would like to find out more about the GEMS project you can contact Danielle Toon

About Evidence for Learning

E4L is a non-profit organisation committed to ensuring all children throughout Australia, regardless of background, make the best possible learning progress. They do this by improving the quality, availability, and use of evidence in education and collaborating with education researchers, policy makers, systems leaders, educators, professional learning providers, philanthropists, and the wider community.

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