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How should a principal decide whether to change the mathematics curriculum used in his school? How should a superintendent decide whether to expand her district's investment in early childhood programming? How should a teacher decide the best way to differentiate instruction in their classroom?
The dilemmas we face as education professionals require us to evaluate and prioritize different kinds of evidence from various sources. Yet, many of us do not have the formal training needed to collect or assess the quality of evidence. This means we may miss out on strategies that work, implement strategies that don’t or fail to systematically learn and improve our efforts over time.
Adapted from the HGSE EdM foundational course designed by Carrie Conaway and James Kim, Using Evidence in Practice is designed to help you evaluate the many forms of evidence you will encounter and learn how to use evidence as part of your strategy for designing and improving education systems.
Using Evidence in Practice is a six-week online workshop in which you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the utility of evidence in education, explore strategies to effectively use evidence, and begin implementing a learning agenda in your program, school, or district.
This workshop includes a combination of videos, readings, activities, and other practical resources, along with ongoing discussions and supportive peer feedback. You’ll design your own learning agenda – a set of questions you need to answer to improve a program, policy, or practice – and map it to the types of evidence you would need to answer those questions. Learning agenda topics might include an investigation into the reasons for chronic absenteeism in a K12 district or an exploration of the relationship between student advising and dropout rates in a public university.
This learning experience is asynchronous and takes place within the learning management system Canvas. Asynchronous programs do not have any live components and are designed to be self-paced. However, this program does include a suggested schedule with weekly deadlines in order to provide a guiding structure. Completing assignments on the recommended schedule is not mandatory but allows participants to engage with and learn from the entire cohort, which helps to build a community of practice. We estimate the course will require 5 hours per week to complete, culminating in a certificate awarding 30 clock hours.
The content is appropriate for both U.S. and international audiences and for educators in early ed, K12, or higher ed.
Carrie Conaway is an expert on strategic planning in education, data and resource use, evidence-based decision making, and connections between research and practice.