Te aromihi pouako e puta ai ngā ihu o ngā ākonga Māori

Support for the principles from the best evidence syntheses

The Ministry of Education’s series of best evidence syntheses was another key source of evidence in the development of this website.

The syntheses identify the key leadership, professional learning, and teaching practices that had a positive effect on some of the educational outcomes teachers value for young people. Two syntheses were of special significance.


The Teacher Professional Learning and Development BES

The Teacher professional learning and development best evidence synthesis (BES) (Timperley, Wilson, Barrar, and Fung 2007) identifies evidence-based principles for helping teachers build their professional knowledge and refine their skills.

These principles are further synthesised in author Helen Timperley's 2008 a Teacher professional learning and development. Its ten principles are summarised here:

  1. Focus on the desired outcomes for student learning.
  2. Focus on the relationship between student outcomes and particular teaching activities.
  3. Integrate the development of teachers’ knowledge and understandings about effective practice with opportunities to apply that knowledge in their practice.
  4. Ensure that information about what students need to know and do is used to identify what teachers need to know and do.
  5. Provide multiple opportunities for teachers to learn and apply new information.
  6. Be responsive to teachers’ learning processes by taking into account the degree to which new information is consistent or out-of-line with their previous beliefs and assumptions.
  7. Provide opportunities for teachers to process their new learning with others in a rigorous way that focuses on the relationship between teaching practice and student outcomes.
  8. Identify those with the expertise necessary to challenge teachers’ existing assumptions and to help them develop the knowledge and skills they need to make a difference for students.
  9. Ensure school leaders set the expectations for improved student outcomes and organise and promote professional learning opportunities that address identified needs.
  10. Maintain momentum by ensuring that teachers have sound theoretical knowledge, evidence-informed inquiry skills, and supportive organisational conditions.

The School Leadership and Student Outcomes BES 

A body of literature about the impact school leaders can have on student outcomes exists.

School leaders’ influence is necessarily indirect, and teachers mediate this.

As a result, many researchers have concluded that leaders’ influence on student outcomes is small.

The School leadership and student outcomes: Identifying what works best and why best evidence synthesis (Robinson, Hohepa, and Lloyd, 2009) challenges this conclusion.

The authors identify specific leadership practices that do make a difference to student learning. Robinson et al. organise these practises into eight dimensions of effective leadership.

Three of these dimensions are particularly pertinent for using appraisal to improve the quality of teaching and learning. These are:

  • planning, co-ordinating, and evaluating teaching and the curriculum
  • establishing goals and expectations
  • selecting, developing, and using smart tools.

Robinson et al. offer the following definitions of the first two of these dimensions.

“Planning, co-ordinating, and evaluating teaching and the curriculum” means:

Direct involvement in the support and evaluation of teaching through regular classroom visits and the provision of formative and summative feedback to teachers. Direct oversight of curriculum through school-wide coordination across classes and year levels and alignment to school goals.

page 95

“Establishing goals and expectations” includes:

the setting, communicating, and monitoring of learning goals, standards, and expectations and the involvement of staff and others in the process so that there is clarity and consensus about goals.

page 95

Also, the authors cite asTTle as an example of a smart tool because it includes much of the knowledge teachers need assess (reliably and validly) their students. Teachers then determine their next learning steps.

However, Robinson et al. cite examples of educational tools that have not met their purpose.

They conclude that an important task for leaders is to ensure that “any tools they introduce – together with the associated routines – assist the users to achieve the intended purposes” (page 133).

Return to top