Using Evidence in the Classroom: What Works and Why?

About this resource

This summary presents the findings and conclusions from a rapid evidence review written and published by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). Our review synthesises what is currently known about effective approaches to school and teacher engagement with evidence and highlights ‘weak spots’ or areas for attention if this ambition is to be realised.

This review is published at a time when many organisations (including government), academics and teachers are seeking to develop strategies that will enable the teaching profession to make best use of existing evidence about what works in improving educational outcomes and the reasons for this. This is partly in response to increasing levels of school autonomy, which create both increased responsibility and accountability for headteachers and governors, alongside the potential for increased opportunity to shape practice.

The debate about the need for an evidence-informed teaching profession is not new. David Hargreaves’ seminal lecture to the Teacher Training Agency (Hargreaves, 1996) is regarded by many as the speech that sowed the seeds for the ‘evidence into education’ movement (in contemporary parlance, this is often referred to as the knowledge mobilisation (KMb) movement). More recently, the debate has been reinvigorated following the impact of Ben Goldacre’s paper: Building Evidence into Education (Goldacre, 2013). Goldacre argues that the education profession is still far from evidence based, despite the range of programmes developed during the 1990s and 2000s designed to mobilise knowledge within the profession.

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