Effective use of evidence is key to improving outcomes for children and young people.
What is evidence?
Evidence is any type of information that supports an assertion, hypothesis or claim. There are many types of evidence in education, including insights drawn from child or student assessments, classroom observations, recommendations from popular education books and findings from research studies and syntheses. AERO refers to two types of evidence in its work:
- research evidence: academic research, such as causal research or synthesis research, which uses rigorous methods to provide insights into educational practice.
- practitioner-generated evidence: evidence generated by educators, teachers and leaders through their daily practice (for example, teacher observations, information gained from formative or summative assessments or insights from student feedback on teacher practices).
We're studying how evidence is currently used in early childhood education and care services and schools. Learn more about this project.
Evidence use – tools and resources
We want to advance the national conversation around evidence use in education, by connecting educators and teachers to quality evidence and by researching how it is used in practice.
- Standards of evidence
- Evidence decision-making tools
- Key concepts explained
- Research reflection guide
Causation (or cause(s)/causal/causal evidence) - Causation is when one element, factor or event is known to cause another (for example, a particular teaching practice is known to lead to improvements in student test scores). To prove causation between two things (let’s call them A and B), researchers need to show: 1. that there is an association between A and B; 2. that A happens before B; and 3. that B is not caused by a third thing (that is, C or D). In education settings, proving causation is often challenging because of the many influences on teacher and student outcomes.
rigour (or rigorous research or rigorous evidence) - Evidence is considered rigorous when it proves that a particular approach causes a particular outcome. Rigorous evidence is produced by using specialised research methods that can identify the impact of one particular influence. The most common research method used to produce rigorous evidence is the randomised controlled trial. However, there are many other methods that can produce rigorous evidence, whether qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. What is important in producing rigorous evidence is that the research method can rule out the effects of as many other influences as possible.