Policy-informed Evidence and Evidence-informed Policy


Originally posted on IcingOnTheCakeBlog:

It’s been busy at Icing on the Cake Towers of late, as I’ve been nearing the end of my forthcoming book, Data Busting for Schools. As such, I’ve had little time for blogging, and I mainly make my voice heard via Twitter at the moment. This week has seen a flurry of activity from various government bodies, think tanks and educational charities, however, as well as a very useful update from Ofsted, which provide useful insight into one of the main challenges to those seeking to influence educational policy and practice: the use – and abuse – of evidence.

Much of the deeper thinking about education of late has been about how we gather, process and use evidence, and how we move towards being a more evidence-informed profession. The idea that we are all affected by our own biases is finally gaining traction, as is the idea that we should embrace uncertainties rather than assume that there is objective truth to be found within numbers in education. As a hotly contested area of public life, however, we also see a lot of ‘evidence’ in education which is clearly directed by policy and prejudice, and it isn’t unusual to see stuff which has pretty much been made up (and often cloaked with large degrees of obfuscation) to suit a particular agenda, or which ignores research which doesn’t fit with a particular world view…

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