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Overview of Effective Practices: Evidence for Improvement. Dr. Carol Campbell Chief Research Officer Ontario Ministry of Education. Being Evidence-Informed: A shared learning journey for improvement. How do you know what to do each day?

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overview of effective practices evidence for improvement
Overview of Effective Practices: Evidence for Improvement

Dr. Carol Campbell

Chief Research Officer

Ontario Ministry of Education

being evidence informed a shared learning journey for improvement
Being Evidence-Informed: A shared learning journey for improvement
  • How do you know what to do each day?
  • How do and can we identify and share our successful practices in order to support others to develop and improve?
  • How do and can we learn from others to support our shared learning and improvement?
what makes it hard to be evidence based pfeffer and sutton 2006
What Makes it Hard to be Evidence Based? (Pfeffer and Sutton, 2006)
  • There’s too much evidence.
  • There’s not enough good evidence.
  • The evidence doesn’t quite apply.
  • People are trying to mislead you.
  • You are trying to mislead you.
  • The side effects outweigh the cure.
  • Stories are more persuasive, anyway.
how to be evidence based in practice pfeffer and sutton 2006
How to be evidence-based in practice? (Pfeffer and Sutton, 2006)
  • Stop treating old ideas as if they were brand new.
  • Be suspicious of “breakthrough” ideas and studies.
  • Celebrate and develop collective brilliance.
  • Emphasize drawbacks as well as virtues.
  • Use success (and failure) stories to illustrate sound practices, but not exclusively in place of valid research method.
  • Adopt a neutral stance toward ideologies and theories.
enquiry based leadership
Enquiry-Based Leadership

All school leadership is enquiry-based, including:

  • An emphasis upon bringing about improvements in practice and improvements in understanding simultaneously;
  • An action orientation to bring about change and improvement;
  • An approach which combines evidence emerging from current research, theory and innovation with the knowledge, expertise and experiences of school leaders – both individually and through collaborative working;
  • A focus on applying evidence to practice and to promoting the importance of school leaders own work.

Carter & Ireson (2002). Developing Enquiry-based Leadership

a research engaged school
A research-engaged school…
  • Investigates key issues in teaching and learning
  • Uses enquiry for staff development
  • Turns data and experience into knowledge
  • Uses evidence for decision-making
  • Promotes learning communities

(NCSL, 2006, Leading a Research-Engaged School)

key characteristics of research engaged schools
Key characteristics of research-engaged schools
  • School leadership is committed to using evidence for school improvement.
  • The school’s culture encourages challenge and learning (an inquiry habit of mind).
  • Commitment of resources to enable staff to spend time on research.
  • Collaborative ethos among members of staff (team working and shared learning).
key characteristics of research engaged schools1
Key characteristics of research-engaged schools
  • Access to sources of research expertise to advise the planning, conduct, analysis and interpretation of research.
  • Access to mentoring support (formal or informal).
  • Commitment to share research within the school.
  • Commitment to share forging research communities within and beyond the school.

(Sharp et al., 2006, Advising research-engaged schools)

ontario research on successful practices
Ontario Research on Successful Practices

Purpose of project was to:

  • Identify classrooms where practical and meaningful classroom strategies were contributing to student success and improved achievement in literacy and numeracy
  • Identify schools where leadership and capacity building activities were directly supporting improved student performance in literacy and numeracy
  • 163 school & classroom sites provided evidence
common successful practices identified
Common Successful Practices Identified

Most frequently identified practices for both literacy

and numeracy:

  • Staff collaboration and team working
  • Professional learning communities
  • Professional development
  • Use of data and assessment to inform instruction
  • Use of range of instructional strategies and flexible groupings of students within classrooms
  • Connections between priorities in school improvement plans and classroom practices
  • Supporting parental involvement
successful practices literacy and numeracy
Successful Practices: Literacy and Numeracy

Further successful practices identified for literacy


  • Providing instruction to support balanced literacy
  • Using literacy blocks and instructional time effectively

Further successful practices identified for numeracy


  • Utilizing resources to support mathematics teaching and learning, especially manipulatives
  • Implementing mathematics instructional practices and programs
  • Integrating mathematics across the curriculum

Most frequently cited factors to ensure sustainability:

  • Leadership of the principal
  • On-going capacity building through professional development
  • Acquisition of necessary resources for literacy and numeracy
  • Staff commitment and collaboration
  • Use of data and assessment to guide instruction
  • On-going board support
  • School improvement planning
  • Focused staff meetings
  • On-going involvement and support of parents
what do we know how do we know
What do we know?How do we know?
  • Bringing together experience, expertise, evidence and research


“What are high-yield strategies?

These are strategies that have been proven through a combination of empirical research and “best practice” evidence to contribute to improved student learning. The high-yield strategies on this DVD have been validated by national and international research as well as by inquiry and experiences in classrooms, schools and boards across Ontario.”

Viewer’s Guide: High-Yield Strategies to Improve Student Learning, The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat


Effective Organization and Use of Instructional Time-Learning Blocks

High Yield Instructional Strategies

Comprehensive Literacy Program for Reading Strategies

Identification and Intervention

for Low Performing Students

Comprehensive Literacy Program for Writing Strategies

Use of Variety of Appropriate Text and Learning Resources



Use of Flexible Classroom Groupings to Progress Learning



Assessment of and for Learning with Specific Feedback

building on successful practices from the field
Building on Successful Practices from ‘The Field’
  • Mind Shift:
    • Knowledge from the field
    • Knowledge from research and professional


    • Inquiry and questions
    • Adaptive solutions
    • Inspiring ideas
    • Improved student learning
research says being evidence informed matters
Research says…being evidence-informed matters
  • Range of research evidence indicates growing use and importance of evidence-informed approaches in Ontario’s schools and boards
  • There’s a lot happening, there’s improvement, but there’s more we can do through sharing our successful practices and learning together!
  • Schools on the Move – provide an opportunity to profile, develop and share successful practices within and across schools.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,

committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

-Margaret Mead