One of our objectives is to encourage adoption and effective implementation of evidence in policy. In education, there is a large and ever-growing evidence-base that can be used to develop policies and guide decision-making.
Partnering with Learning First, we investigated issues influencing the effective use of evidence in policy development through a desktop review and interviews with senior policymakers.
Although there were differences in the issues raised in the existing literature and by senior policymakers, there were some common themes:
From these themes (and from more detailed project findings), we can draw practical implications for improving evidence-based education policymaking. This table sets out actions for researchers, policymakers and AERO.
To support more effective use of evidence in policymaking:
Relatively little is understood about how evidence does and should inform education policy development in Australia, and what are the best ways to maximise its impact.
To explore these issues, AERO commissioned Learning First to:
- complete a desktop review of existing international literature on the use of evidence in education policymaking, and barriers and enablers to the use of evidence
- interview senior policymakers from across Australia about how evidence is used in education policy development in Australia, barriers and enablers to the use of evidence, and how the use of evidence in policymaking can and should be improved. Most interviewees were former system leaders who had responsibility for school education and/or early childhood education and care (ECEC) over the last decade.
‘Evidence’ was defined in this project to include both research evidence (that is, academic research usually published as books, reports, articles, summaries or podcasts) and sector-generated evidence (which includes data and information drawn from national or state assessments or collected from ECEC services, schools and related sectors). However, most of the literature and interviews focused on research evidence.