Evidence for the Frontline: Evaluation Report and Executive Summary
31 March 2017
This study evaluated the pilot of Evidence for the Frontline (E4F) (2015–2016) – an online brokerage service which supports more effective use of research evidence by schools. Teachers post questions online and a broker puts them in touch with a relevant academic and/or evidence on what works. The service was developed by Sandringham School and the Institute for Effective Education at the University of York, with support from the Coalition for Evidence- Based Education. The evaluation was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation.
- Teachers and school leaders engaged positively with the E4F service. 192 users from the 32 pilot schools posted at least one question each during the pilot year.
- Users asked a range of questions including on pupil engagement and behaviour, differentiation, literacy, monitoring pupil progress, and character education. Users valued the quality of the answers and found the E4F website easy to use.
- Teachers felt that using the service provided them with opportunities for discussing research with colleagues, enhanced their enthusiasm for using research evidence, and improved their school’s use of research evidence. It was too early to say whether there had been benefits in terms of pupils’ learning outcomes.
- E4F established a feasible service in a relatively short time; the website being a notable success. Suggested improvements to the service include quicker answers, enhancing awareness of the brokerage role, and encouraging greater dialogue between teachers and researchers.
- To scale up, the service needs more brokers and academics. A hub model could be considered, whereby lead schools provide brokerage support to other schools.