Evidence-based reform in education refers to policies that enable or encourage the use of programs and practices proven to be effective in rigorous research. This article discusses the increasing role of evidence in educational policy, rapid growth in availability of proven approaches, and development of reviews of research to summarize the evidence. A highlight of evidence-based reform was the 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which defines strong, moderate, and promising levels of evidence for educational programs and ties certain federal funding to use of proven approaches. To illustrate how coordinated use of proven approaches could substantially improve educational outcomes, the article proposes use of proven programs to populate each of Tiers 1, 2, and 3 in response to intervention (RTI) policies. This article is adapted from an address for the E.L. Thorndike Award for Distinguished Psychological Contributions to Education, August 7, 2018.
Slavin, R. E. (2020). How evidence-based reform will transform research and practice in education. Educational Psychologist, 55 (1), 21-31. DOI: 10.1080/00461520.2019.1611432.
Education policies should support the use of programs and practices with strong evidence of effectiveness. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) contains evidence standards and incentives to use programs that meet them. This provides a great opportunity for evidence to play a stronger role in decisions about education programs and practices. However, for evidence-based reform to prevail, three conditions must exist: many practical programs with solid evidence; trusted and user-friendly reviews of research; and more education policies that provide incentives for use of proven programs. The article discusses recent progress in each of these areas and notes difficulties in each. It makes a case that if these difficulties can be effectively addressed, evidence-based reform may begin to make a meaningful difference in education outcomes at the national level.
Slavin, R. (2017). Evidence-based reform in education. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 22 (3), 178-184.