20 years ago, Professor Rob Coe, then of Durham University, wrote his Manifesto for evidence-based education [the concept, rather than the organisation!]. After joining EBE in February 2019, we soon realised that it was timely – the 20th anniversary of the manifesto being published.
At the time EBE was founded by Stuart Kime and Jack Deverson, in June 2015, Stuart was completing his PhD, supervised by none other than Professor Coe. Rob had had a huge influence on Stuart’s thinking, and indeed was perhaps the catalyst for EBE’s foundation.
Since then, we have worked extensively with Rob, as a member of our Advisory Board, and with the organisation he headed up for many years, the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring. It was the inimitable combination of Messrs Kime and Coe that led the building of our Assessment Lead Programme, following delivery of a four-day pilot training course with five schools in the north-east of England.
So, what has changed in the intervening two decades?
We explore this in the 2019 update, A (new) manifesto for evidence-based education: twenty years on. Revisiting the state of affairs in 1999 offers a starting point for the new paper, before we offer a definition of what we mean by ‘evidence-based education’. Crucially, we also cover what isn’t meant by the phrase. After having established these bases, we ask what the implications should be for education systems in the next 20 years, and finally discuss what we at EBE are going to do to help move the conversation along further.
When we were approached to contribute to the tenth Festival of Education at Wellington College in June 2019, we thought there could be no better place to release the new manifesto and to share it with teachers, school leaders, researchers and policy-makers around the world.
So without further ado, you can read the opening paragraphs below, then follow the link at the bottom of this post to read the paper in full.
Twenty years ago, Rob’s Manifesto for Evidence Based Education was published. In 1999, he predicted – with a nod to motherhood, and a large slice of apple pie in hand – that everything “fashionable, desirable and Good” would be ‘evidence-based’. Rob depicted an education ecosystem in which we would have “Evidence-Based Policy and Evidence-Based Teaching, Evidence-Based Training – who knows, maybe even Evidence-Based Inspection.”
Arguably, we have all of these things now, at least in part. However, the notion of ‘evidence-based’ remains controversial, disputed and misunderstood. For our part, we believe that evidence should be at the heart of education; we hope that the 2039 update to this document is simply called a manifesto for education.