Process for effective evidence-based program implementation (school contexts)



program implemenation
Adapted from the Florida Center for Reading Research http://www.fcrr.org


I am a staunch supporter and advocate for evidence-based practice (EBP) in schools; it’s my professional goal to bridge the gap between research and teaching practice. However, there is more to EBP than simply choosing a well researched program and running with it. This flow chart (adapted from the Florida Center for Reading Research) highlights the important steps to follow when choosing a program/intervention for your school.

1. Examine the context: The first step is to consider the context and school community needs. In order to do this, you might need to consider your school’s business plan and targets. What does the school community consider to be important and what are the main areas of need identified (e.g. student well being, social-emotional development, literacy, reading comprehension, narrative writing etc).

2. Select evidence-based interventions: Take your areas of need and seek professional/specialist opinions in selecting evidence-based intervention/s. For example, if the area is related to literacy, it is a good idea to contact the SPELD Dyslexia Foundation (Australia) for a list of evidence-based literacy interventions. Also contact other schools in your area or with a similar context,  as contextual considerations play a large part in the success of a program. Other schools may be further along in the EBP journey and be a wealth of knowledge and advice.

3. Plan for the intervention as a school team: If the program is going to succeed at a school-wide level, you need buy-in and collaboration from all parties involved. This includes teaching staff, non-teaching staff, parents and possibly students. You then need to devise an implementation plan. Are you going to train up all staff at once, or will it be a gradual implementation? What resources will you need? How will you provide ongoing collaboration, professional learning, and data collection?

4. Implement with ongoing coaching, support and professional learning: This is the step that is often missed, resulting in poor program fidelity and traction. Time and time again, research has shown us that in order to change staff practices in the workplace, they require ongoing coaching and support ( Joyce and Showers, 2002). This needs to be included in the program implementation plan.

5. Refection: another important element of this flow chart is the cyclic nature of program/intervention implementation.  It needs to be a continuous process of reviewing and updating based on rigorous data analysis. Data collection (both qualitative and quantitative) is an integral component of any EBP program/intervention. Decide what data you are going to collect and when. Ensure you make time to analyse this data and consult specialists/professionals when required.


Next time your school is considering implementing a new program, show the admin team this chart!


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