Teacher and school evidence-engagement: self-assessment toolkits

In 2017, a study from Sheffield Hallam University, UCL Institute of Education and Durham University was published by the Department for Education, looking at what we currently know about evidence-informed teaching, how schools and teachers use evidence and good practice from highly evidence-engaged schools.

The study has some important messages about how schools can make effective use of research evidence. Drawing on evidence review, content analysis of policy documents, school and other websites as well as interviews with teachers and leaders in England the study found:

  • School leader support is crucial.
  • Research evidence should be integrated into all aspects of a school's work as part of an ethos of continual improvement and reflection.
  • A key step in building research use is for leaders to actively seek out research evidence to help meet school priorities.

To make the most of evidence teachers should:

  • Seek out support from others in the school and outside to help access and help with judging the quality and applicability of research.
  • Consider research evidence alongside other evidence as you reflect on and develop your teaching.
  • Use research evidence to inform their thinking and to experiment, test and trial new approaches in their practice.

A first step that any leader and teacher can use to begin to make research evidence part of the way of doing things in your school is to ask questions. It was commonplace in some of the more research-engaged schools for conversations about dealing with issues in the classroom to include questions like ‘what does the evidence show?’ or 'what is your evidence for making that change?' Why not try this in your school?


Evaluating your level of engagement with evidence

A set of tools for schools and teachers were developed by UCL Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University and Durham University based on the project findings. These are designed as practical tools to encourage teachers and school leaders to consider their engagement with research evidence, and the areas you may need to develop to deepen and embed this engagement. We hope that you will use them to stimulate conversation and joint decision-making; they are meant to be collaborative tools.

These toolkits are available to download below.

Evidence-informed teaching: school tool

Evidence-informed teaching: teacher tool