Championing what works

Lee Elliot Major describes an evidence-led initiative that is gaining widespread support, and ruffling a few feathers

“SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE!” It is an exhortation far too rarely heard, let alone considered, in education. Every time I say it to teachers, I am reminded of the catch phrase made famous by the film Jerry Maguire – “Show me the money!” The currency I am interested in of course is not cash, but hard research evidence. Yet in keeping with the film’s central character, I am calling on a profession to challenge its long held beliefs and practices.

What we know
● The £200 million Education Endowment Foundation will adopt an evidence-based approach to its work to improve the achievement of the poorest children in underperforming schools in England.
● Robust evaluation of interventions proposed by schools and other organizations will be at the heart of the EEF’s work, with at least 10% of funds devoted to evaluations.
● The EEF aims to produce broader lessons on how best to boost achievement for all schools, with an interactive guide showing what works best, and also what doesn’t work, in the classroom.

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February 2012