Report: Getting Evidence Moving in Schools (GEMS)

The Getting Evidence Moving in Schools (GEMS) Project led by Evidence for Learning (E4L) seeks to improve both how research is used in schools and how the use of evidence by schools is being researched. 

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 LearningCEI was commissioned to operationalise and implement the research framework to derive insights for evidence mobilisation in schools. We carried out a research investigation exploring how schools mobilise literacy and numeracy research through professional learning providers. 

The GEMS investigation report presents eight key insights and recommendations for stakeholders in the field of education to improve deeper evidence mobilisation and organisational support.  

  • 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

An Insights Paper that shares lessons on the meaningful use of research evidence in schools for school leaders and those that support them has also been published and can be accessed here.

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.

Download the report