Evidence is essential

5th April 2013 at 01:00

Like your anonymous correspondent ("Where is the research?", Letters, 29 March) I too always want to know if there is sound research behind any changes in practice. Unfortunately, what is cited in TESpro or by government, trainers and consultants is usually limited in scope and objectivity, something that Ben Goldacre recognises (www.tesconnect.combigedblog).

I am, however, unlike this correspondent (not to mention Dr Goldacre and writers in TESpro, it would seem) in that I am aware of a sound, objective, meta-analysis of more than 900 research projects. Such an analysis uses average effect sizes to iron out discrepancies in the data and give us a definitive answer to what really works and what doesn't. This evidence is to be found in John Hattie's Visible Learning for Teachers, which has become the handbook for developing and improving practice at my school. It is disappointing that so many people seem either unaware of these meta-analyses or, like Mr Gove and the Department for Education, choose to ignore them totally.

Louise Neve, Senior teacher, literacy and assessment manager at Manor Junior School, Farnborough.

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