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Evidence-Based School Leadership and Management - Are we missing a trick

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Slides presented at researchED London, 10 September, 2016

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Evidence-Based School Leadership and Management - Are we missing a trick

  1. 1. Evidence-based school leadership and management Are we missing a trick? Dr Gary Jones, independent researcher, consultant and blogger
  2. 2. A summary of my argument • The effective use of evidence has the potential bring about improvement in pupil outcomes (and staff well being) • The current English educational system is encouraging schools, school leaders and teachers to engage with research and evidence. • However, insufficient attention has been paid to the use of evidence-based practice to improve the leadership and management of schools – this in part because of a number of commonly held misconceptions • Evidence-Based Management (EBMgt) may provide a way forward to help school leaders make better informed and more effective decisions • Nevertheless, EBMgt is a contested concept and should be seen in that light
  3. 3. Underpinning theory of action • School leaders routinely make decisions and judgements (about interventions) • Those decisions are based on evidence (information) of various and many types • Using only a little evidence that is not relevant or valid is likely to lead to poorer decisions and poorer outcomes • Using more relevant and valid evidence is likely to produce better decisions and outcomes (pupils and staff)
  4. 4. Some quick quotes • … researchers in business, law and linguistics have focussed a significant amount of attention on addressing the knowing-doing gap (Pfeiffer and Sutton, 2000) p 670, • The Evidence-Based Practice Model primarily values empirical evidence obtained through randomized control trials and match study designs (p670)
  5. 5. Some quick quotes • How are evidence-based programmes and strategies best selected, selected, introduced, implemented and sustained in schools and what are the outcomes in terms of changes in practice and school improvement (671) • The hypthesis underpinning the enquiry is that combining the concepts of expansive learning and a social model of ‘research-use’ of school leaders engagement with research evidence and provide insights into school leaders’ engagement with research as a management tool for school improvement (p671)
  6. 6. The five-stage engagement process (p675) Epistemic actions Engagement process Focus Questioning Stage 1 _ Setting the scene What aspects of T&L are working well? Analysing Stage 2 – Digging deeper Identify two foci for change Constructing a model to identify a solution Stage 3 – A Way Forward Identifying programmes Guidance for effective change managements Running the model Stage 4 – Managing Changes Teacher autonomy and implementation fidelity Consolidating outcomes into a new stable form of practice Stage 5 – Capturing Outcomes and Sustaining Change Cycle of enquiry and review
  7. 7. Observation 1 • There is a substantial literature post-2000 on Evidence-Based Management and Practice which has not been referenced
  8. 8. Observation 2 • Randomised control trials are not at the apex of the pyramid of evidence
  9. 9. Observation 3 • Evidence-Based Practice values fours sources of evidence
  10. 10. Evidence-based practice and four sources of evidence
  11. 11. Observation 4 • Evidence-Based Management should have a broader focus than school improvement and teaching and learning
  12. 12. Main elements of a MAT CEO’s job description • Teaching and learning • Leadership and strategy • Performance and human resources • Accountability • Finance • Safeguarding • Equality and diversity
  13. 13. Evidence-Based Management : Where did it come from ?
  14. 14. Medicine : The founding fathers McMaster University Medical School, Canada David Sackett Gordon Guyatt
  15. 15. Management : Founding Mother
  16. 16. Evidence-Based Management : What is it?
  17. 17. Evidence-based practice and four sources of evidence
  18. 18. Misconceptions associated with evidence- based practice • Evidence-based practice ignores the expertise and knowledge of teachers and head-teachers. • Evidence-based practice is the same as research- informed practice. • Evidence-based practice involves teachers undertaking research • Evidence-based practice is all about numbers and statistics.
  19. 19. Misconceptions associated with evidence- based practice • •School Leaders need to make decisions quickly and don’t have time for evidence-based practice. •Each school is unique, so the usefulness of scientific evidence is limited. •If you do not have high-quality evidence, you cannot do anything •Good-quality evidence gives you the answer to the problem.
  20. 20. Main elements of a MAT CEO’s job description • Teaching and learning • Leadership and strategy • Performance and human resources • Accountability • Finance • Safeguarding • Equality and diversity
  21. 21. Evidence-based management and organisational behaviour • Making decisions • Bounded rationality • Too much choice • Use a few standard but adaptable tools to make decisions • Hiring Talent • Structured interviews can be a good predictor of job performance • General mental ability is the single best predictor of individual productivity • Motivating people • Specific, challenging goals improves performance and learning • Performance feedback aids learning when it is given intermittently rather than constantly
  22. 22. Morrell and Learmouth (2015) p521
  23. 23. So to recap my argument • The effective use of evidence can bring about improvement in pupil outcomes (and staff well being) • The current English educational system is encouraging schools, school leaders and teachers to engage with research and evidence. • However, insufficient attention has been paid to the use of evidence-based practice to improve the leadership and management of schools • Evidence-Based Management (EBMgt) may provide a way forward to help school leaders make better informed and more effective decisions • Nevertheless, EBMgt is a contested concept and should be seen in that light

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