Feb 24, 2021

Getting Evidence Moving in Schools (GEMS) report explores how schools mobilise research

Investigation builds understanding of how educators select, understand and use evidence, with implications for schools, professional learning providers, government and researchers


Despite a growing commitment towards using rigorous evidence to improve student learning outcomes, how evidence is used and applied in Australian school settings has remained poorly understood.

As part of a three-year project led by Evidence for Learning, CEI carried out a research investigation exploring how schools mobilise literacy and numeracy research through professional learning providers.

The investigation report presents eight key insights:

  • Evidence mobilisation is a deliberate and complex endeavour involving multiple stages and multiple actors
  • Professional learning providers played various roles in supporting schools, and educators valued the support of providers
  • Evidence mobilisation is (still) active, social and demanding for educators when professional learning providers are involved
  • Evidence mobilisation was both superficial and deep, and supportive school structures and environments were a key part of deeper mobilisation
  • Educators’ self-reports and positive attitudes masked experienced difficulties
  • While some measurable changes in educator outcomes occurred quickly, most changes take time and are difficult to sustain
  • Evidence mobilisation enablers and barriers are largely known and predictable
  • Gaps exist between the evidence educators seek and the evidence available

Evidence for Learning have now published the Getting Evidence Moving in Schools (GEMS) Investigation Paper, which can be read in full here. An Insights Paper and supporting materials for practitioners based on the findings of the Investigation Paper will be published later this year.

The research approach undertaken by CEI was an observational, mixed methods study design operationalising a research framework designed by Monash University. Researchers undertook a range of data collection activities, including online surveys, interviews, lesson observations and observations of professional learning sessions. Three professional learning providers and 205 educators across 24 primary schools in NSW and Victoria participated in the investigation.