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Program and workshops

Tuesday 8 November 2016

10.00-10.30: Registration, tea and coffee

10.30-10.45: Opening and welcome to the conference

The Ministry of Children, Education and Gender Equality and the Danish School of Education.

10.45-12.00: Keynote: What promotes effective implementation of evidence in schools

Associate professor Camilla Dyssegaard, Head of Danish Clearinghouse for Educational Research, Danish School of Education

Presentation of results from the Implementation of Evidence in Schools-project commissioned by the Ministry of Children, Education and Gender Equality. The project is two-folded:

  1. State of the Evidence: A systematic review on what enables effective use of externally produced evidence in schools
  2. State of the Field: Data has been collected in 10 different countries: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, England, Scotland, Ontario in Canada, Maryland in USA, New South Wales in Australia and New Zealand.  A portrait of how the 10 countries work with promoting the use of evidence based knowledge and knowledge dissemination from research to practice.


Professor David Gough and Lecturer Janice Tripney, EPPI-centre, UCL IoE, London

Presentation of the results of the project 'The science of using science. Researching the Use of Research Evidence in Decision-Making'.

The project had two components:

  1. A review of the literature on the effectiveness of interventions to increase the use of research evidence in decision making (EIDM)
  2. A review of the broader social science literature on the effectiveness of interventions that could be relevant to increasing EIDM.

Both reviews considered the levels, mechanisms and behavioural components of the interventions evaluated.

12.00-13.00: Lunch

13.00-14.30: Workshop 1: The interplay between knowledge and governance

Presenters: Tracey Burns and Rien Rouw, Centre for Educational Research and Innovation – OECD

This workshop starts from the governance of complex education systems. An important component of modern governance systems is their capacity to learn and to share knowledge. With the growth in complexity, governance has become a knowledge intensive activity. In complex and often fragmented systems, sharing knowledge between different parts is essential, for example, to make innovative practice at decentralised level available in other parts of the system.

Knowledge and learning are also vital elements in negotiations and dialogue that are essential to creating consensus in complex systems with multiple actors. Knowledge becomes a tool to steer the system: providing decentralised decision makers and practitioners with relevant, high quality knowledge is imperative to improve the quality of decision making and practices.

What kind of knowledge systems are needed to share knowledge across the different layers of the systems? How do countries actually handle knowledge in complex situations and use knowledge to reach common goals?

In this workshop we present the work of the Governing Complex Educations Systems project on knowledge and governance. We will particularly draw from the country case studies and show how different countries have made knowledge an integral part of policy initiatives. 

Participants are invited to share their experiences with the use of knowledge in policy initiatives. The last interactive part of the workshop is dedicated to the formulation of design principles for effective knowledge systems.  

Chair: Caroline Gijselinckx, Department of Education and Training, Brussels.

13.00-14.30: Workshop 2: School-University Knowledge Exchange Schemes

Presenters: Andrew Morris (Educational consultant, London, UK) Tomislav Tudjman (Researcher, Erasmus University, NL)  Per Skoglund (National Agency for Special Needs Education & Schools, Sweden) and Anna Kristin Sigurdadóttir (University of Iceland)

This workshop is for policymakers, school leaders and researchers interested in the practicalities of evidence-based approaches to school development. Improving the performance of schools is proving difficult in many countries and governments are keen to know why this is so. Altering policy, creating targets, providing incentives and interventions are commonly used strategies. All too often such top-down approaches prove to be less effective than expected when implemented in practice.

An alternative approach is to work at the local level, developing interventions around shared understanding of evidence. This occurs sporadically in some cities, districts and regions of Europe in a variety of small-scale initiatives in which schools and universities work together on specific challenges.

In this workshop examples of such initiatives from four European countries will be briefly outlined, and conclusions drawn about what seems to make for success. A model of the process will be offered and participants invited to discuss how it might be useful in their own situations.

Chair: Stefan Denzler, deputy director Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education

13.00-14.30: Workshop 3: Partnerships in teacher education

Presenters: Andreas Lund, Head of ProTed, Centre of Excellence in Education and Sølvi Lillejord, Director at the Norwegian Knowledge Center for Education

Research shows that partnerships between universities and schools serve several functions, but their main purpose is to link theory and practice for teacher education students. Several studies show that partnerships are not always successful, as many of them build on unquestioned assumptions and models that should be reconceptualised.

The Knowledge Centre for Education and ProTed, Centre of Excellence in Teacher Education, will in this workshop present the joint work on enhancing teacher's professional knowledge. Professionals draw on two knowledge sources – knowledge from research and knowledge from experience. The strategic alliance between the two centres makes it possible to systematically extract knowledge from research and knowledge from experience and joining these two knowledge sources together. This workshop will present examples from the work ProTed is currently undertaking at university schools and findings from a mapping of research on partnership in teacher education. 

Chair: Niels Rijke, Policy Officer at NRO, the Netherlands

13.00-14.30: Workshop 4: Working out what works in The Netherlands

Presenter: Marion Stenneke, advisor, NRO The Netherlands

About the activities that are organised for teaching staff and policymakers in The Netherlands to further improve the interaction between education research, educational policy and educational practice.

The Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO) was founded to improve the interaction between academic research into education, educational practice and educational policy.  Marion Stenneke will give an interactive presentation about the facilities and activities that NRO offers to teaching staff, policymakers and other professionals who work in education. They will also present the outcome of an evaluation of those different activities. What works best?

The presenters would like to discuss these initiatives and outcomes with you. Which facilities and activities seem useful to you? Are you missing any? How could these initiatives be further improved? What activities does your organization offer that the Netherlands could benefit from? What works in your countries to improve the interaction between research, policy and practice? 

This interactive presentation is intended for teaching staff, policymakers and other educational professionals, such as school principals and school governors. It goes without saying that researchers are also more than welcome to join in the discussion.  

Chair: Mia Smeds, NordForsk

14.30-15.00: Break

15.00-16.30: Keynotes: How to give research results back to teachers?

Professor Steve Higgins, Durham University

Giving the big picture: using a framework to make research findings accessible to teachers. This first part of the keynote will focus on some of the tensions in making results from education research accessible and applicable to teachers and other education professionals. Using the Sutton Trust-Education Endowment Foundation Toolkit (https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/evidence/teaching-learning-toolkit ) as an example, the challenge of providing results in an accessible but accurate way, as well as in a form which teachers find applicable and actionable, will be explored.

The Toolkit uses an overarching framework to make sense of findings from intervention research in education by relating impact to an easily understandable scale. The strengths and limitations of this approach will be examined in the presentation. 


Professor Bengt Persson, University of Borås

In this presentation, a successful school development project in a Swedish municipality based on current educational research will be described. A research team at the University of Borås followed the work and its implications during six years and aimed at disseminating the results continuously among teachers and school leaders in the country.   

The presentation also focuses on the pressure upon researchers to publish their results in reputable scientific journals and not primarily in a form that is accessible to the target group. This may entail a risk that researchers’ personal career as well as the university's quest for more scientific publications, will lead to important research results not becoming spread in educational practice. Possible alternatives to overcome such obstacles will be discussed in the presentation.   

Chair: Professor David Gough, Director EPPI-centre, London

16.30-16.45: Ending comments and further information about conference dinner and the following day

17.00-18.15: Tour of the university and welcome reception

18.30: Conference Dinner

Wednesday 9 November 2016

9.00-9.30: Welcome

9.30-11.00: Keynotes: Experimental research with the aim of arriving at “evidence informed education” in policy and practice

Professor Terje Ogden, The Norwegian Center for Child Behavioral Development

The Norwegian Center for Child Behavioral Development was established in 2003, in order to develop, implement and test evidence-based practices in the prevention and treatment of conduct problems in youth. A string of family and school based programs have been tested in randomized controlled trials with encouraging outcomes. The most ambitious school based program, was however, for several reasons tested in a less rigorous design called a strengthened quasi-experimental design.

The Norwegian school model, PALS, was adapted from the US based School-wide Positive Behavior and Intervention approach in order to support inclusive education and to strengthen the students’ capacity for coping with the academic and social challenges of primary school. Positive outcomes have been documented in a study which investigated the effectiveness of the full three-level N-PALS model on student problem behavior and on the learning climate in class, and also in a study which examined the the impacts of N-PALS on school staffs’ practices and on their individual and collective efficacy. The pros and cons of evidence-based interventions in the Scandinavian educational context will be discussed in light of these studies. 

Professor Niels Egelund, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University

This part of the keynote will present some of the results from the Centre for Strategic Educational Research which was established in 2010 with a funding of 7 mio EUR. The purpose of the centre was to answer a series of questions about education, to supply policy-makers with research-based facts about education, to serve as knowledge centre for other researchers and projects and thereby to improve the quality of education in Denmark. Focus points have been: effect of day care on cognitive development; effect of class size on academic achievement; effect of school size and school mergers on academic achievement, effect of teacher training in classroom management; cognitive and non-cognitive competences as predictors of success in upper secondary education. The studies also show that both natural experiments and RCT studies have their limitations in a Danish educational context.  

Chair: Andrew Morris, Educational consultant, London, UK

11.00-11.15: Break

11.15-12.30: Workshop 5: Swiss and Danish perspective on commissioning systematic review and how to apply the results in a policy setting

Presenter: Stefan Denzler, deputy director Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education

This contribution presents experiences with commissioned systematic reviews in a educational policy setting: In the context of the system monitoring on education in Switzerland, specific systematic reviews were commissioned at the Danish Clearing House for Educational Research in order to get an external review of the state of the literature in two politically sensitive domains: university drop out and foreign language learning. The goal of this presentation is to discuss, based on the Swiss experiences, the role and the use of systematic reviews in a policy context.

What are the supporting and hindering factors in the conceptualisation phase and the process of commissioning a systematic review? And what aspects affect reception and implications of the results of a systematic review? The goal of the contribution is to learn from two concrete cases of policy use of systematic reviews; to understand the difficulties to overcome in order to bring a complex field of actors to agree on drawing on a systematic review and to accept the results given by the review.

Presenter:  Jon Jespersen, Chief consultant, Danish Ministry of Children, Education and Gender Equality

The presentation provides an outline of how the Danish Ministry for Children, Education and Gender Equality uses systematic research reviews in its work to promote the development and communication of research-based knowledge. Since 2014, the Ministry has commissioned a number of systematic research reviews, research mappings and literature studies on a wide range of topics pertaining to educational practice and development. These include reports on math, literacy, varied school days, learning environments, student well-being and pedagogical leadership, all written with focus on their pertinence to Danish educational practitioners or school leaders.

The presentation will initially deliberate on the main challenges and outcomes of systematic reviews, research mappings and literature studies and how they can be useful in the context of the ministry. How can they assist in shaping educational policy? How can practitioners use the results? The presentation will go on to discuss the Ministry’s recent efforts to remediate and communicate the results of these systematic reviews, mappings and literature studies to a broader audience of educational practitioners, policy-makers and school leaders.  

Chair: Ib Waterreus, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Netherlands

11.15-12.30: Workshop 6: Evidence for journalists, evidence for teachers

Presenter: Andrew Morris, Educational consultant, London, UK

In this workshop two recent initiatives in the United Kingdom will be outlined which target specific audiences. Both provide web-based means for different kinds of professional to make use of research evidence of direct relevance to their work.

The Education Media Centre anticipates important news stories that are about to appear in the media, identifies appropriate research experts, collates their evidence-based comments and sends them to the major news desks in time to influence their stories.

Evidence for the Frontline enables teachers to ask questions about the evidence around specific issues they face in the classroom. A university identifies an appropriate researcher who responds to the question or refers to a relevant source of evidence. Dialogues are visible to all in the community.

These two initiatives have emerged from the activity of the UK Coalition for Evidence-Based Education¸ a network founded in 2009 that fosters collaboration between people and organisations. CEBE has developed during a particularly turbulent period of structural, economic and political change by having no institutional base, no funding and no formal officials. It simply operates through the voluntary action of individuals and organisations keen to see greater use of evidence in education.

Chair: Marion Stenneke, advisor,  NRO, The Netherlands

11.15-12.30: Workshop 7: Dissemination of research from a Nordic perspective

Presenters: Venla Tolvanen and Jenni Helakorpi, University of Helsinki

This first part of the workshop will present the work of building a Nordic web page on gender studies for teacher educators and teacher education students. During the planning phase of the project we invited and involved teachers, teacher educators, teacher education students and researchers in the creation of the database, which was very fruitful and helpful in many ways. We will use these networks continuously during the process. The web page will be published in March 2017. 

Presenters: Thor-André Skrefsrud, Hedmark University of Applied Sciences, Anette Hellman, University of Gothenburg; and Hanna Ragnarsdóttir, University of Iceland

While findings of research in the Nordic countries, as well as in many other countries has revealed the marginalization of students with an immigrant background, other studies have shown that there are some examples of the opposite, i.e. individual students and particular schools have succeeded in spite of what could be expected. Such success stories have been explored in a Nordic project in which all the Nordic partners of this project took part, called Learning Spaces for Inclusion and Social Justice: Success Stories from Immigrant Students and School Communities in Four Nordic Countries (LSP) (2013-2015) which gathered researchers from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

The main aim of the project was to draw lessons from success stories of individual immigrant students and whole school communities at different levels that have succeeded in developing learning contexts that are equitable and socially just, contrary to expectations based on research findings. In this workshop we present some cases in which findings from the LSP-project are discussed in relation to teachers’ work in multicultural and multilingual classrooms. The first case is from Norway and reports on teacher educators’ reflections on the possibilities for inclusive educational practice within their subjects. The second case is from Sweden and presents a student workshop where teacher students reflect upon own experiences in light of LSP findings.

The third case is from Iceland and reports on a LSP spin-off conference with schools on pre-, compulsory and upper secondary levels which introduced their good practices within multicultural education, followed by a one day course for teachers based on LSP findings. Together these cases draw attention to the process of giving research results back to teachers and recommend practices on how schools can work more effectively with inclusion and social justice. Finally, some guidelines for practitioners and policy makers which draw on the LSP project will be introduced. 

Chair: Lena Adamson, Director at the Swedish Center for Educational Research  

11.15-12.30: Workshop 8: Presentation on the barriers and challenges when transferring research knowledge into practice from a Danish perspective

This workshop will look at the barriers and challenges when transferring research knowledge into practice. The presentation will be based on the report issued by the Danish Board for Coordination of Educational Research.

Presenters: Manager Lise Nordvig Rasmussen, Educational department, Rambøll Management Consulting

Major educational reforms in Denmark have created a momentum for strengthening the transferring of research knowledge into new teaching practices. Both at national level and in the municipalities actions have been taken to strengthen evidence based methods and practices. The report shows that successful transfer of knowledge from researcher to educators is possible but rare.

At all levels – among producers, mediators and educators – there are a significant potential for improvement. Most likely the transfer will take place in closed circles: produces exchange knowledge with researchers in peer reviewed journal articles, educators exchange knowledge verbally with educators in their local setting. The weak coordination by the large number of public actors leaves room for private actors. Especially, this has been the case in regards to mediation.   

Presenter: Pauline Ansel-Henry from the Ministry of Children, Education and Gender Equality

The second part of the workshop will focus on how consultants from the Ministry of Children, Education and Gender Equality work with promoting the use of evidence in Danish municipalities. The workshop will introduce how consultants at the Ministry use solution-focused tools in order to promote the use of evidence in organizational change management at schools and municipalities. The development of solution-focused tools is built upon the principles and practices of solution-focused therapy that was developed by Berg, de Shazer and their team in the early 1980s.   

We invite schools to envision their preferred future by describing what schooling will look like when the leaders and educators work according to evidence in a specific area where the school is challenged.  We do this by using scales (from 0 to 10) to select key areas of attention from the evidence based knowledge. In the workshop we´ll illustrate 2 ways of working with these keys areas of attention:

  1. We use the spider web to support educators and leaders to systematize 8 main points of attention in the area of development that we are focusing on, for example student-centered leadership. The point of attention is then broken into specific signs of how high quality teaching will look like when it is based on evidence. These signs can be used in meetings and conversations between leaders and educators in order to set goals for the team’s next developmental step.
  2. We use a developmental model to support educators and leaders in formulating how specific practices will look like at 3 levels of development on a scale, for example how it looks like at a 3, 5 and 7 in relation to the attention points. These levels can be used in meetings, observations or in talks between leaders and educators to support development from one step to another.

Chair: Sølvi Lillejord, Director at the Norwegian Knowledge Center for Education

12.30-13.15: Lunch


13.15-14.30: Keynote: The role of teachers in creating an evidence-based education system

  • James Richardson, Senior Analyst at the Education Endowment Foundation
  • Alex Quigley, Director of Research and Learning at Huntington School, York

The Education Endowment Foundation is the UK government’s ‘What Works Centre' for education. It adopts a system wide approach to capturing and spreading evidence-based practices, by producing, synthesising, translating and implementing research. One in three schools nationally are now involved in EEF-funded Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) and two thirds of Headteachers report using the 'Teaching and Learning Toolkit', an accessible summary of education research, designed specifically to inform decision-making in schools.

Encouragingly, the EEF is developing as a collaborative endeavour between research and practice, and this session highlights the role of teaching professionals across each of the four stages in the evidence-system.  Real-world examples of school-led projects will be discussed, including a trial of an evidence-informed school improvement process, and a national network of Research Schools, which are leading research use and engagement in their region.

Chair: Rien Rouw, OECD

14.30-14.50: Break

14.50-15.25: The European landscape – input from workshops

Tracey Burns, OECD

15.25-15.30: Concluding remarks

15.30: End