Evidence for Learning: Implementation in Education

Implementation in Education

A review of studies from around the world covering implementation in schools

High-quality implementation of educational approaches can have a significant impact on improving student outcomes. In Australia, there is very little research on the implementation of practices and approaches in real-world classrooms and school settings.

A 2017 report commissioned by Evidence for Learning and conducted by the Centre for Evidence and Implementation (CEI) has reviewed studies from around the world covering implementation in schools. The academic report and its summary of key findings is the first of its kind in Australia, identifying crucial elements of implementation that ensure approaches are given their greatest chance to improve outcomes for students.

The scoping review explores the role of implementation in high-quality educational practice through the research question,

Based on a systematic scoping review, the goal was to explore whether particular implementation concepts or strategies in school settings have been shown to be effective in supporting teaching and improving student outcomes.

Studies on interventions that aimed at improving student outcomes were included in this review. These could be interventions that address students’ academic achievements (such as literacy or numeracy), their physical (through nutrition, or exercise) or mental health (centered on behaviour and socialemotional wellbeing). The review includes studies that used randomisation or quasi-random procedures to assign participants, with or without blinding. Studies that tested two types of educational interventions (instead of no treatment control group) were also included. Systematic reviews of relevant implementation studies were also included.

  • Four major indicators of implementation quality are dosage (participation in certain activity), fidelity (ongoing support), quality of delivery (support from principals) and acceptability (teachers’ participation and attitudes to that activity) which influence students’ outcomes (academic and behavioural) and teachers’ attitudes and practices.
  • When implementing an educational approach, providing ongoing support to teachers through coaching, workshops, and supervision has shown to have a substantial impact on student outcomes.
  • When looking at quality of delivery, principals support and the support of the teachers within the Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies’ (PATHS) – a delinquency prevention curriculum, was seen to significantly influence reduced students’ aggression and behavioural dysregulation.

The following reports are free to access and download.

This review was conducted by the Centre for Evidence and Implementation.