Schools That Change: Evidence-Based Improvement and Effective Change Leadership

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Monitoring might include:. Creating action steps for professional learning is an essential step in planning to implement an evidence-based strategy. A critical aspect of human capital is ensuring you have the right staff for implementation. This could include developing staff, recruiting new staff or redesigning roles based on knowledge and skills to implement the evidence-based strategies.

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Another aspect of human capital is having the right leaders. Effective implementation requires leaders who ensure:.

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Schools and districts in the planning process understand the fiscal resources needed to ensure high-quality plan implementation. Consider these questions:. To enable full implementation of the evidence-based strategies, the education system leads change across the organization by:.

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Check on my license status? This brief gives an overview of the key aspects of evidence-based education reform, and outlines the steps necessary for evidence-based education reform to prevail. Evidence-based education reform is a process of change that uses high-quality evidence from rigorous experiments to guide educational policies and practices. Proponents of evidence-based education reform hold that true progress will take place in education only when: 1 educators and policy makers have a broad set of programs and practices with strong evidence of effectiveness available; and 2 government policies support the use of well-evaluated programs, as well as the development and evaluation of new, promising programs.

Evidence-based reform in any area creates a dynamic of progressive improvement, in which researchers and developers work to replace existing methods with even more effective solutions.

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To increase student achievement, programs and practices used by teachers at all levels need to be improved. This, in turn, requires a focus on research and development to create and rigorously evaluate new approaches capable of making a substantial difference in student outcomes.

There is currently limited research evaluating specific educational programs, practices, and materials. This limitation not only fails to provide the best educational programs to children, but it also removes any incentive for developers to create programs that work better than current practices. Evidence-based education reform was founded based on the successful experience of evidence-based medicine, which changed the practice of medicine and the role of research and development within a generation.

Schools That Change : Evidence-Based Improvement and Effective Change Leadership

While evidence-based medicine has not reformed every aspect of medical practice, overall it has resulted in rapid progress on a broad front. When government polices favor programs with strong evidence, developers— including publishers, software developers, university researchers, and entrepreneurs of all kinds—will have an incentive to engage in serious development and evaluation efforts.

Seeing the immediate impact of research and development, policy makers will likely provide substantially greater funding for these activities. The winners in evidence-based education reform will be children, especially those who are least well served by the current system, teachers who yearn for more effective tools to help them do their job well, and society as a whole, which will come to expect progress in education as confidently as it currently expects progress in other fields.


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After you determine which evidence-based practices are a good fit for your school, how do you convince educators in your district to adopt them? Even more challenging, how do you ensure successful implementation? Adopting an educational program or practice almost seems easy in comparison to the hard work of sustained implementation.

This brief describes types of barriers educators face in adopting and implementing evidence-based practices and tips for overcoming them.

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Educators may face one or more barriers to adopting evidence-based practices in their schools. These include:. The following strategies address some of the more common barriers you may encounter in your school.


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Adopting a research-proven program may require first examining how money is being allocated in a school budget, and then making changes. Educators should ask themselves: what can be selectively abandoned in order to adopt the new program? Educators need to budget their money and time with the goal of increasing results. They need to identify what is important to achieving results, and allocate resources accordingly. In a process-based organization, if one person leaves—even if that person is a high performer—the team can still perform.