School leaders can ensure the approaches they choose in their school are informed by, and responsive to evidence.
The ten stages involved in this process are depicted in the diagram below. They need to be data and evidence informed and do not replace the importance of professional judgement – they support, enhance and improve this judgement.
- The Impetus must come from school level data and appreciation of local needs.
- School leaders need to have an Awareness of which approaches have good evidence of success and be able to easily distinguish them from the plethora of available information.
- Analysis of the evidence-based approaches entails understanding the conditions that have led to prior success and consideration of whether it is likely to provide similar benefit in the specific local context.
- Intentional Adoption and Adaptation of the program includes the use of implementation science to articulate the theory of change and manage the barriers to success (including staff training and use of measures to determine efficacy in that context).
- Implementation is conducted in a mini cycle of Act, Evaluate and Adjust that ensures active learning to make immediate difference and generates new data and knowledge for sharing with the wider evidence chain.
- A deliberate decision to Embed or Omit (discard) the program based on the local evidence of impact; choosing what to stop (omit) is as important as choosing what to keep (embed).
This work in schools should be supported by activities in the wider evidence chain, where evidence that school leaders and teachers can understand and use to improve their practice is produced and communicated.
See how the Impact Evaluation Cycle interacts within an evidence ecosystem to improve efficacy and efficiency.