Barends et al define evidence based practice as the making of decisions through the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of the best available evidence from multiple sources by:
- Asking: translating a practical issue or problem into an answerable question
- Acquiring: systematically searching for and retrieving the evidence
- Appraising: critically judging the trustworthiness and relevance of the evidence
- Aggregating: weighing and pulling together the evidence
- Applying: incorporating the evidence into the decision-making process
- Assessing: evaluating the outcome of the decision taken
- Scientific evidence Findings from published scientific research.
- Organisational evidence Data, facts and figures gathered from the organisation.
- Experiential evidence The professional experience and judgment of practitioners.
- Stakeholder evidence The values and concerns of people who may be affected by the decision.
- The need to develop a greater understanding that being an evidence based educational leader requires more than reading John Hattie or looking at the latest Education Endowment Foundation reports. It is about thinking fundamentally about how you go about your practice as an educational leader and ensuring it draws upon multiple and possibly conflicting sources of evidence.
- Evidence based educational leadership requires the building of capacity, both individually and organisationally, to create the conditions to make better decisions. Given the current budgetary pressures faced by the vast majority of schools and colleges, creating the time and the space for this capacity building may be a challenge in itself. On the other hand, these challenging conditions makes the need for better decision ever more important.
- Given the overwhelming importance of OfSTED inspections to what extent does this lead to internal school/college evidence being produced and presented in ways which make evidence-based educational leadership more difficult. In other words is the school/college based evidence, presented and interpreted in such a way to support a 'positive' narrative - spin- rather than aid in a deep understanding of the issues at hand.
My next post will look to borrow a technique devised in evidence based medicine to help us develop answerable evidence based questions.
Barends, E., Rousseau, D. M., & Briner, R. B. 2014. Evidence-Based Management : The Basic Principles. Centre for Evidence Based Management (Ed.). Amsterdam.