Panel D.05 — Evidence-based education: impact evaluations, evidence syntheses, and the use of research in policy and practice

Convenors Gianluca Argentin (University of Milano Bicocca, Italy); Marta Pellegrini (University of Cagliari, Italy); Loris Vergolini (University of Bologna, Italy)

Keywords evidence-based education, effectiveness, impact evaluation, meta-analysis


The impact of education reforms and innovative practices is more and more frequently questioned by teachers, school leaders, and citizens. More broadly, the post-modernist lack of trust in experts’ knowledge seems to make school communities less willing to be involved in education research and policy and less confident about their potential benefits.

In response to this lack of trust, the research community started advocating the need for educational interventions to be evidence-based and for research to produce results that are more relevant to everyday educational practice (Hargreaves, 1996; Coe, 2002). In this perspective, Evidence-Based Education “refers to policies in which educators and policymakers use evidence of effectiveness as a criterion for choosing educational programs, products, and practices” (Slavin, 2008).

In the last decades, we assisted to the expansion of rigorous impact evaluations of educational interventions as well as of evidence syntheses with the aim of providing evidence of what works in which conditions and supporting decision-making. More recently, the idea of making the results accessible to different audiences has become a priority in educational research. In this respect, several initiatives (e.g., Rethinking Research for School or Research-Practice Partnerships, Education Endowment Foundation) and research (e.g., Ming & Goldenberg, 2021; Welsh et al., 2021) have started to emphasize the role of evidence use in practice as a key point in research development.

The proposed session aims are twofold: a. to collect and discuss impact evaluations and evidence syntheses of education interventions; b. to analyse and debate the ways and implications of making evidence available to educational actors. For this session, both abstracts presenting impact evaluations and abstracts reflecting on the consequences of the evidence-based/evidence-informed paradigm are valuable. Abstracts coming from the intersection of different disciplinary perspectives will be highly appreciated.


Guidelines and abstracts submission