Full Question: I am a Resource Teacher of Learning Behaviour (RTLB) and work with children with learning and behavioural issues at school. I read an article, which made me reflect on what evidence-based practice was for RTLB? This is from our current RTLB practice toolkit: RTLB interventions should demonstrate evidence-based practice. Evidence Based Practice is “the data we select – the relevant information that we notice from the external research work and from our own practice – and the interpretations we make from that data” (Policy Implementation and Cognition: Reframing and Refocusing Implementation Research 2002). I shared the article with my Cluster Managers and suggested that we look through our assessments and interventions and reflect on the use of them. One of the interventions we use is called Barbara Brann Building Blocks for Literacy. It has a Screening Tool. Very little independent research - all based on Barbara Brann, Extremely expensive as only Barbara Brann sells the resources.
Answer: “There are many interpretations of evidence – and I make two distinctions – the evidence I use based on research (which is nearly always with real kids in real classes as we do not have a lab history as in psychology), and the evidence teachers have from experience. Both are legitimate – but the issue is then quality and most of the power is interpretation. It is not the evidence it is the interpretation. I would go further, and say we have oodles of evidence and the major question is implementation - -the fidelity and robustness plus scalability of implementing high impact evidence-informed interventions, I moved more to ‘know thy impact’ to emphasise that it is not the use of evidence from research, but the evidence from the impact of the research that matters most. I know Barbara Brann as an ex-student and friend – and of course you would need to ask her for the ‘evidence’ however she may present it. I just do not know as have lost contact with her. And yes there is a tendency to keep using assessments because we always have. So many schools use Progressive Achievement Tests (PAT) and others but again it is the interpretation and use for formative evaluation that really counts” (John Hattie, personal communication, November 12, 2017).