About Evidence Based Education

History

Here at Evidence Based Education, we combine years of experience in teaching and school leadership, in conducting research into educational leadership and evaluation, and in policy advice to the UK Government’s Department for Education.

This rare combination allows us to take an objective view on effective uses of evidence in education, while also developing pragmatic, thought-provoking training courses, designed specifically for the complex professional lives of teachers and school leaders (lives we have lived).

What do we do?

We are pioneers in training teachers and school leaders to use research evidence to improve attainment, reduce costs, and support teacher development.

We are the leaders in training teachers to use CEM assessment data well.

We bring vast expertise in teaching, school leadership, education research and policy to schools, and we are guided by an influential Advisory Board, which includes Professors in Education at Durham and Harvard Universities, as well as teachers and school leaders at various levels.

We’re working with some awesome schools, universities and charities.

Get in touch to find out more.

WHO ARE WE?

  • Ourania Maria Ventista
    Ourania Maria Ventista Head of Assessment

    Ourania is Head of Assessment here at EBE. With an MSc in Educational Assessment from Durham University, and currently a Doctoral Researcher at Durham’s School of Education, Ourania is responsible for the training and support we provide through Assessment Academy.

  • Sinéad Flinders
    Sinéad Flinders Head of Research Engagement

    Sinéad Flinders is Head of Research Engagement at Evidence Based Education with primary responsibility for delivery of the Research Support Partnership programme.

  • Matt McGinlay
    Matt McGinlay CEM Training Manager

    Matt manages our partnership with the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University, and manages and delivers all CEM training engagements on behalf of EBE.

  • Jamie Scott
    Jamie Scott Head of Partnerships & External Relations

    Jamie is our Head of Partnerships and External Relations. He makes sure all existing partners remain happy, and is also external-facing – he manages new relationships and is in charge of consultancy and development of the business.

  • Allyson Deverson
    Allyson Deverson Office Manager

    With a degree in Business Law, and two decades’ experience working in both customer-facing and administrative roles within the security print industry, Allyson is well-equipped for the task of managing EBE’s administration. It is her responsibility to ensure that everyone is in the right place at the right time!

  • Dan Singleton
    Dan Singleton Course Architect

    Dan is working on Assessment Academy, particularly the development of the online version of Assessment Lead Training, to apply behavioural insights and to ensure that the course is enjoyable, personalised and above all effective.

Why work with us?

We exist to help you use evidence in education effectively (from the lesson plan to the school improvement plan), and to help those who generate evidence do so in a way that allows users to access it, interpret it, and integrate it. We help you to practise effective evidence-based education.

In short, when you work with us, you receive impartial and up-to-date advice on how to use research evidence in your school, clear and honest feedback from trained researchers and teachers, and concrete guidance on how to make evidence-based, contextualised school improvement decisions.

Here are a few of the questions frequently asked of us:

What is evidence-based education?

Evidence-based education employs practices and policies – at all levels of an education system – based on appropriate and methodologically robust evidence about their effects (costs and benefits). We draw inspiration for this definition from Coe et al. (2000). In essence, evidence-based school leaders actively review the best available research evidence as part of their school improvement process.

Claiming to be ‘evidence-based’ is an assertion which must be justified. Schools need to understand the impact of their actions on important student outcomes (Hattie, 2008); to do this requires high standards of evidence, not simply correlations and anecdotes. With too many examples of ‘common sense’ prevailing over the guidance offered by robust evidence (McCord, 1978), there is a clear need for help and support to be available. As Coe et al. (2000) put it (cf. Tymms, 1999), “common sense is no substitute for research”.

We are the experts in helping teachers, school leaders and policy-makers become evidence-based.

What do you consider to be ‘good’ evidence?

‘Good’ evidence is appropriate and it is methodologically robust.

By appropriate, we mean that it is able to tell you about the things that you want to know – to answer the questions you want answers to. Our understanding of research methodology enables us to guide you towards sophisticated judgements about what is appropriate for your context.

As with so many things in life, the quality of available research evidence varies. You may have evidence which is appropriate (in as much as it is relevant and adopts an appropriate approach to answering a specific question), but the quality of it may be low (it may have been conducted poorly).

By adopting a highly critical approach to the identification of ‘good’ evidence, we are transparent in highlighting the limitations as well as the applications of research evidence.

And what is ‘good’ evidence-based practice?

Integrating the best available evidence and evaluation techniques into the daily life of school improvement work is what we would consider to be ‘good’ evidence-based practice. We don’t expect or want schools which work with us to replace their rich professional understandings with an effect size, but we hope that conversations in school have appropriate and methodologically robust evidence as a key component. We tend to think of it as a ‘middle way’; a careful reflection on all the facts and opinions relevant to a decision.

How do you support us to achieve such ‘good’ practice?

The professional development of teachers is our utmost concern. We are truly concerned by the poor quality of much of what is offered to schools with the purpose of developing teacher knowledge, understanding and skill. In light of this, we use the Teacher Development Trust’s (2015) guidance on effective professional development found in the ‘Developing Great Teaching‘ report to inform our work.

  1. We only engage in professional development which is relevant and supported by robust research evidence;
  1. We focus our professional development work on students’ learning outcomes;
  1. We engineer activities which clarify, challenge and develop our clients’ thinking about teaching and learning;
  1. We engineer activities which foster experimentation designed to apply new learning in the classroom;
  1. We design programmes which include observation and feedback intended to clarify the ingredients of success and provide guidance on what to do to move closer to it;
  1. We design programmes which run for a minimum of two school terms and have activities scheduled at least every month, if not every two weeks;
  1. We provide the external expertise needed to bring fresh, critical thinking which challenges orthodoxies. We also bring cutting-edge knowledge and understanding of evaluation design and implementation;
  1. We design programmes which are collaborative; we promote peer networks as a vehicle for improved learning;
  1. We design programmes which have coaching and mentoring at their heart;
  1. We design programmes which have school leaders involved from the start, so that a culture of challenge, trust and learning is created and they empower others.

While the ten points above don’t always sit comfortably with established practices for teachers’ professional development, we’re committed to designing our business around the best available evidence.

Contact us to discover how we will help your organisation develop evidence-based professional development programmes.

Evidence Based Education is trusted by the world’s top universities, schools and companies…

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