On the fourteenth day of Edvent, Roo Stenning gave EBE…

What works may hurt: Side effects in education

While the idea that “if educational research adopts (the) scientific method, it will lead to evidence-based (better) policies and practices and ultimately better education” is not new, it seems to have grown in popularity in recent years, linked in the UK to the publication of Ben Goldacre’s (@bengoldacre) (2013) Building Evidence into Education. As Goldacre has written elsewhere, however, memorably quoted by Dylan Wiliam (@dylanwiliam) at the 2014 ResearchEd Conference, “I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that”. This thought-provoking paper argues that “studying and reporting side effects as part of studying effects will help advance education by settling long fought battles over practices and policies and move beyond the vicious cycle of pendulum swings in education.”

This was published in the Journal of Educational Change, and is available online on Yong Zhao’s website here.


Roo kicked things off on Day 1 of Edvent – so do head back and check out his first recommendation. He is Head of High School at St Andrew’s International School, Bangkok.


As part of our Edvent celebrations, we’re offering one lucky winner an exclusive EBE goody bag, and a free 30-minute research engagement consultation with our Director of Education, Stuart Kime. Enter the prize draw here by 5pm on 24th December to be in with a chance!