Director, The Centre for Program Evaluation, University of Melbourne
Bridging the Divide: RCTs, Improvement and Transformation
In the past decade, there has been an increased call for educational interventions to demonstrate their impact on children’s learning outcomes when implemented at a systems level. Schools, policy-makers and education-focused philanthropists want to know that their investments stand to yield a good return in outcomes for young people and society. This is often characterized as the education improvement paradigm. In parallel, there is an increasing recognition that education systems must prepare young people for an increasingly complex and less certain future. There is a concomitant recognition that, to respond to this need, education systems will need to transform themselves and foster innovation in teaching and learning practices. This is often characterized as the education transformation paradigm.
In the more extreme examples of the education discourse, educational improvement and educational transformation are often pitted against each other as mutually exclusive. This is a false dichotomy that can be bridged through support for the initial development of educational innovations and their evaluation by randomized controlled trial at an appropriate stage in their development.
The session will introduce Evidence for Learning’s Learning Impact Fund, which funds RCTs on Australian education programs, and then present case studies to explain key design features to make RCTs viable and valuable in education.
John’s career spans education and social enterprise, with expertise in leading and managing education social enterprises; grant-making and evaluation; designing and developing transformative learning experiences; and recruiting and developing exceptional teachers. He has transferred his classroom teaching and school leadership experience in the United States and Australia into designing, developing and managing programs in Australia and to evaluating program implementation and impact. At Evidence for Learning, John is responsible for grant-making and evaluation through the Learning Impact Fund and managing international relationships to develop practice guides for Australian educators.
Dr Jon Quach
Dr Jon Quach (BSc (Hons), PhD) is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Royal Childrens Hospital’s Centre for Community Child Health and has worked on over 10 community-based studies with families and primary schools.
Dr Quach completed his PhD in 2011 examining the efficacy of a behavioural sleep intervention in addressing sleep problems in Grade Prep children. Findings from this directly informed a funded NHMRC Project Grant to conduct a translational trial to test the effectiveness of the program when delivered by the Primary School Nursing Program through the Victorian Department of Education and Training.
In 2013, Dr Quach was awarded a prestigious Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award to examine how common child health problems shape academic outcomes during the early years of school and how best to address these problems within the traditional school setting. He currently focuses on children with sleep problems, working memory difficulties and children at risk of chronic behavioural/developmental conditions. This involves a strong collaboration between CCCH and the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.
Prof. Janet Clinton
Professor Janet Clinton is Director of the Centre for Program Evaluation (‘CPE’) and Director of the International Teacher Education Effectiveness Research Hub, at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (‘MGSE’). She has wide national and international experience as an evaluator, psychologist, and educator, and has an extensive publication record. She teaches a number of post-graduate subjects in the discipline of Evaluation – in the areas of quantitative and mixed methodologies. She supervises a number of PhD students in the area of evaluation. Janet has worked in Australia, New Zealand and the USA, and has been a principal investigator on many large complex evaluations and research projects.
Recently she was the principal evaluator for the Australian Professional Standards for Teaching, and the Real-time captioning pilot in Victorian Schools. She currently leads the Visible Classroom initiative as well as directs the Teacher Capability Assessment Tool project. Overall, she has led over 85 national and international evaluation projects. Her major interest in program evaluation is the development of evaluation theory and methodologies. However, her evaluation work also focuses on development of teacher evaluation protocols, as well as using evaluation as a vehicle for change management and building capacity through extensive engagement with key stakeholders.