Evidence-based Practice:
A Workshop for Training Adult Basic Education,
TANF and One Stop Practitioners and Program
Administrators
Welcome
Focus of this workshop:
 How can you promote evidence-based
practice in adult education programs?
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Introductions
 Name
 Program name
 Your role in the program
 One strength of your program
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Objectives
By the end of this workshop, you should be able to..
 Discuss your own attitudes about research and its
connection to practice and policy
 Define some basic concepts and terminology about
research design and methodology
 Describe the connection between evidence-based practice
and program/classroom improvement
 Describe what empirical evidence looks like and how it can
be integrated with professional wisdom to make decisions
about instruction and services for adult students
 Implement a plan for improving reading instruction in your
programs utilizing evidence-based practices
 Cite strategies you can use to continuously access,
understand, judge and use research to make decisions
about practices in your classrooms and programs
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Agenda
Today’s activities include:
 Introductory Activity: Welcome, Objectives and Agenda
 Attitudes Towards Research: Discussion Activity
 Introduction to Research Design
 Understanding Research and Identifying Evidence-based
Practice
 Using Evidence-based Practice to Improve Your Programs
 Next Steps: Action Planning
 Accessing, Understanding, Judging and Using Research
in Your Own Programs
 Evaluation and Closure
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Attitudes Towards Research
 How do you feel about research and
its role in improving practice?
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Evidence-based Practitioners Are…
 Questioners
 Consumers
 Producers
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Your Stance as
Evidence-based Practitioners
Questioners…
 Believe that practice should be based on
evidence and professional wisdom.
 We ask,
 Why should I use this technique or strategy and
what is the evidence that supports it?
 Is it based on evidence I have about students’
performance, on other practitioners’ evidence
(professional wisdom), or on research evidence?
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Your Stance as
Evidence-based Practitioners
Consumers…
 Believe that new evidence is critical to our
work and proactively seek research
evidence.
 Learn enough about research and its
findings to integrate what has been found
to be effective with our own knowledge of
students, and then change our practice
accordingly.
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Your Stance as
Evidence-based Practitioners
Producers…
 Believe that we should not only be
consumers but also researchers in our own
classrooms.
 Generate knowledge that can be shared with
others through
 program and classroom research,
 co-research with university-based researchers or
 documenting how we implemented evidencebased practices.
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Introduction to Research Design
Random
Selection
Quantitative Data
Validity
Analysis
Findings
&
Implications
Means
Median
Mode
Reliability
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Research Design:
The Research Question
Does practice in trying to flip
the ball into the cup lead to
improvement in that skill?
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Research Design:
Limitations of the Study




Validity
Was the number of subjects enough
to reach a reasonable conclusion?
Were the control and experimental
groups chosen fairly?
Was the sample typical of the
population we want to know about?
Was the right measurement chosen
to test whether skills increased?
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Research Design:
Limitations of the Study
Reliability
 Were the measurements accurate?
 Were all subjects measured the same
way?
 Were data accurately recorded?
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Research Design:
Experimental Research
So this is experimental, gold standard research (except
for sample size—small “n”).
Research question
Random sampling
Control group
Baseline quantitative data (pre-test)
Intervention
Outcome quantitative data (post-test)
Findings
Analysis
Rival hypotheses
Conclusions
Implications
Validity and reliability
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Research Design:
Research Options for Our Study
 True experiments: Randomized trials that test a specific
strategy or approach.
Experiments answer "What works?" questions.
 Correlational studies: Research that looks at the
relationship between different variables and outcomes.
Correlational studies answer "What
influences what?“ questions.
 Case studies: Highly detailed descriptions of individuals
or small groups.
Case studies answer "What's going on?"
questions.
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Evidence-based Practice:
Scientifically Based Research Must*…
 employ systematic, empirical methods that draw on
observation or experiment;
 involve rigorous data analyses that are adequate to
test the stated hypotheses and justify the general
conclusions;
 rely on measurements or observational methods
that provide valid data across evaluators and
observers, and across multiple measurements and
observations; and
 be accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or
approved by a panel of independent experts
through a comparatively rigorous, objective, and
scientific review.
What does all this really mean?
*From What is Scientifically based Research? A Guide for Teachers, at
http://www.nifl.gov/partnershipforreading/publications/html/science/stanovich.html
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Evidence-based Practice:
Recognizing Effective Research
 Has the study been published in a peer-reviewed journal
or approved by a panel of independent experts?
 What does this mean?
 How would you know?
 Have the results of the study been replicated by other
scientists?
 What does this mean?
 How would you know?
 Is there consensus in the research community that the
study's findings are supported by a critical mass of
additional studies?
 What does this mean?
 How would you know?
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Evidenced-based Practice:
Analysis Group Task
 In your small group, you have 10 minutes to
read the assigned research brief and discuss it
with members of your group to be sure that
you understand:





Who the learners were
What the research question was
What the researchers found
What you think these findings mean for teaching
reading to adult students
Whether or not you think this study is scientifically
based research and why
 You should feel comfortable enough with what
the research says to be able to describe it to
someone else.
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Evidence-based Practice:
Discussion Group Task
 Each group member has five minutes to
describe the information in the article to the
other group members, including…





Who the learners were
What the research question was
What the findings were
What your analysis group thought the findings mean for
teaching reading to adults
Whether or not your analysis group thought the study
was scientifically based
 Encourage discussion
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Evidence-based Practice:
Definition
Evidence-based practice is defined as…
the integration of professional wisdom
with the best available empirical evidence
in making decisions about how to deliver
instruction.
Grover Whitehurst,
Director of Institute of Education Sciences
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Uses for Research
 Research justifies what we are
already doing well.
 Research helps us improve something
that we are already doing.
 Research suggests a solution to a
problem we have.
 Research uncovers an interesting and
intriguing practice.
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Using Evidence-based Practice to
Improve Your Program:
Your Current Program Improvement Process
In your local program groups, discuss a recent
program change:
 Who initiated the change?
 What problem did the change try to address?
 Who was involved in finding and deciding on a
solution (change)?
 Who was involved in implementing the change?
 How did you know the change did or did not work?
 Who was involved in evaluating whether the change
should be permanent?
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Using Evidence-based Practice to
Improve Your Program:
A Case Study
Read the case study and then discuss…
 Are there any differences between your
program’s change process and the program
process described in the case study?
 Are there parts of the case study process that
might improve your own program’s process?
 Are there parts of your program’s process that
might improve the case study process?
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Action Planning:
Creating a Plan for Evidence-based Reading
Instruction
 Stay in your local program groups.
 Identify one of the evidence-based reading
practices that might contribute to your
program or solve a problem you have had
related to reading instruction.
 Look at the handout Action Plan for Evidencebased Reading Instruction.
 Draft an action plan to try out the strategy or
practice in your program. Refer back to your
notes from the last activity about program
improvement process.
TIME: 15 minutes
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Your Program’s Own Strategy for
Evidence-based Practice
 Accessing research (finding it)
 In response to needs identified
through program self assessment or
data analysis
 In reading current research
 Understanding what it says and means
 Judging whether it holds promise for
improving your services
 Using it in your program
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Your Program’s Own Strategy for
Evidence-based Practice
To make a habit of accessing, understanding,
judging and using research for program
improvement, you need a structure and a
process
 Who (in or out of your program) is
involved?
 How do they continually access,
understand, judge and use research to
make a change?
 What do they need to do it?
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When You Get Home
 Review the action plan for evidence-based
reading practice.
 Review your draft strategy for evidencebased practice (accessing, understanding,
judging and integrating research into your
program on a continual basis).
 Discuss plan and strategy with colleagues.
 Refine/revise plan and strategy, and begin
to implement!
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Force Field Analysis:
Making Our Plans and Strategies Work
A Force Field Analysis is a tool for thinking about
how to implement a strategy or plan.
 Brainstorm the restraining forces: those that
will make it harder to implement your strategy
for evidence-based practice.
 Brainstorm the positive forces: those that will
make implementation easier.
 Discuss how you might reduce negative forces
and strengthen the positive forces.
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Accessing Research Findings
www.ncsall.net
National Center for the Study of
Adult Learning and Literacy
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Accessing Research Findings
www.nifl.gov/lincs/
The National Institute for
Literacy’s Database
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Accessing Research Findings
www.cal.org/caela/
The Center for Adult English
Literacy Acquisition
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Accessing Research Findings
www.tesol.org/s_tesol/index.asp
Teachers of English to
Speakers of Other
Languages
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Evaluation
 What was good (useful, helpful) in
this workshop?
 What suggestions do you have for
how to improve the workshop?
 Thank you for participating!
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