About the guides
The Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) has released practice guides for practitioners synthesising the research evidence on promoting and supporting family engagement1 for children’s early learning and development and students’ learning outcomes.
For practitioners to be confident with using recommendations from research evidence, they need to know the research evidence was both created and synthesised using high-quality research methods. This explainer describes the process we followed to synthesise the available research evidence on family engagement. A more detailed description is also available.
What process did we use to create the guides?
To create the guides, we used a rapid review process.
A rapid review uses a specific, step-by-step process for searching the available research literature. The steps are:
What types of studies did we include, and how did we find them?
In 2017, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) in the UK searched the research evidence to answer a very similar question on family engagement. Their search was extensive and their findings were published in 2019. We built on their work by using the same search terms and the same databases (where possible).2
We included studies that met the criteria below. Our initial search located 2,254 papers. After removing duplicates, we screened 1,737 papers to see if they met the criteria for included studies. We supplemented our included studies with meta-analyses and systematic reviews from the EEF search. Ultimately, 24 papers were used to inform the practice guides. A full list of criteria is also available in the detailed methodology.
What else did we do?
To ensure that findings from the review were presented in a useful way, we formed a small project advisory group. The group consisted of accomplished practitioners (from ECEC, primary school and secondary school) nominated by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) and the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). We also sought insights and feedback from ACECQA, AITSL, the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY), parent associations and various state and territory jurisdictions.
Our practice guides are designed to be clear, concise, relevant to a range of ECEC and school contexts, and relevant to practitioners with different roles. As such, they are designed to be a starting point. We hope you find them useful in your work with families, and welcome any feedback.