NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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Self-Review Tool

Welcome. This free tool from NFER shows you how to use evidence and enquiry to make a difference in your school or college. Once you have reviewed how research-engaged your school or college is against eight key statements, the tool generates a personalised chart and report and then signposts key resources to help you move forwards.

About the tool

Classrooms and other scenes of education in action
Quick review

Review how engaged in research you believe your school or college is. Use the Quick review to see how it works, then set up an account for your school or college to do the free Full review.

Full review

To access more features and save your results, complete the Full review. This allows you to see changes over time. By asking all your staff to use the school/college login, you get the full picture. This service is free to use and once logged in, takes the same time as a Quick review.

NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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School Registration

To get a full school or college review of research engagement, it is best to gain the opinions of as many staff as possible across various roles.

To do this, you will need to create an account which allows multiple users to contribute to the same review. The results for your whole school or college will be an average of all the contributions. You will have the option to filter this by role as well.

NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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Create Account

By setting up an account for your whole school or college, you can ask all your staff to complete this review. You will then get a summary for the school as well as options to filter by role and date. This is a free service.

Please note, an email will be sent to the Headteacher when you create this account, letting them know an account is being set up on behalf of the school. You will need a valid DfE number and postcode for your school or college to set up an account.

The Username you enter below is for your whole school (you and your staff). The General Password is one you will share with your staff, allowing them to be matched to your school when they login. The Admin Password is for you only as the main contact.

Please enter your details below (all fields are mandatory):

This is both for yourself as the main contact and for all your staff to use as a login. Share this username and the general password with your staff when asking them to complete the review for the whole school/college.

This password is for you to share with your staff (along with the Username) so they can access your school account. They will not be able to see results for the whole school/college.

This password is for YOU ONLY as the main contact for the school. It will give you access to the results for the whole school/college. Please do not share this password.

If you do not know your DfE Number, you can look it up here. If you do not have a DfE Number (because you are not a school or college), your account will be set up manually. It may take a little more time. Please contact products@nfer.ac.uk or call 01753 637007 if you have any queries.

Read the terms
Submit

Don't forget to complete the tool whilst logged in to your account to ensure your results are stored.

NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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Login

Please enter your details below:

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Forgot username / password?
If you have been asked to complete this tool by someone at your school/college, please ask them for your school's username and password.
If you are the main contact for an account and have forgotten your username or password, click the link above.


About the tool
NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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Forgot details

To reset your login details, please enter the account contact email address below:

You will be emailed detailed instructions of how to reset your login details.
NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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Account Home

Please select one of the following options:

NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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- Account Settings

This username is both for yourself as the main contact & all your staff when logging in. Share this username & the general password with your staff when asking them to complete the review for the whole school.

This password is for you to share with your staff (along with the Username) so they can access your school account. They will not be able to see results for the whole school.

This password is for YOU ONLY as the main contact for the school. It will give you access to the results for the whole school. Please do not share this password.

If you do not know your DfE Number, you can look it up here. If you do not have a DfE Number (because you are not a school or college), your account will be set up manually - may take a little more time. Please contact products@nfer.ac.uk or call 01753 637007 if you have any queries.

NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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Introduction

NFER, with help from school leaders and partners, have developed eight key statements that we believe are important factors to becoming a research-engaged school. For each statement, simply mark what stage you believe your school is currently at. Use the examples in the table below the descriptions to help you make your evaluation.

This process is anonymous, however to help understand your perspective, please complete your role below.

Select your role:

Where reference is made to 'school' or 'schools' this can be applied to other educational organisations including colleges, early years settings and training providers. The term 'school' is used generically to apply to all these organisations for space-saving reasons.

NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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1. Leadership and vision

This item invites you to consider the commitment of senior leadership to engaging with research and in enquiry as a powerful approach to school improvement and professional development. It asks you to consider how commitment is reflected in action.

Senior leaders are aware of the potential benefits of engaging with research and in enquiry as a valuable approach for school improvement.

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Research and enquiry as a basis for professional learning

The introduction of evidence-informed enquiry has yet to be introduced as an approach to CPD.

Research evidence is sometimes shared with staff by the senior team.

Developing teachers as learners

Leaders are beginning to develop the staff as a community of learners. Opportunities for collaborative enquiry and open dialogue are yet to be established.

Research and enquiry as a force for positive change

Engagement with research and in evidence-informed enquiry is infrequently used by leaders as an approach to change.

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Senior leaders are beginning to explore the benefits of engaging with research and in enquiry as a valuable approach for school improvement. they are supportive of staff engaging in research and enquiry.

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Research and enquiry as a basis for professional learning

Evidence-informed enquiry is undertaken by small groups of staff as part of their individual or department development programme.

Research evidence is used by some groups to inform developments.

Developing teachers as learners

Leaders are developing the staff as a community of learners. There is some opportunity to work collaboratively on projects.

Research and enquiry as a force for positive change

Engagement with research and in evidence-informed enquiry is beginning to be used by leaders as an approach to change.

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Senior leaders endorse and regularly commit resource to staff engaging with research and in enquiry as a valuable approach for school improvement.

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Research and enquiry as a basis for professional learning

Evidence-informed enquiry is a feature of the CPD programme for most staff.

Research evidence is available to most staff to inform developments.

Developing teachers as learners

Leaders have developed well the staff as a community of learners. There are regular opportunities to engage in collaborative enquiry.

Research and enquiry as a force for positive change

Engagement with research and in evidence-informed enquiry is frequently used by leaders as a force for positive change. It is possible to see its growing influence on decision making. For example, it is beginning to shape the School Improvement Plan.

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Senior leaders and governors proactively promote a sustained commitment to research and enquiry as an integral feature of school improvement and staff development.

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Research and enquiry as a basis for professional learning

Evidence-informed enquiry is a significant element of the CPD programme and there is documented evidence of its impact on pupils and staff.

Research evidence is regularly used to inform developments.

Developing teachers as learners

Leaders have a clear and sustained commitment to developing a community of learners. There is a climate that encourages open dialogue about practice and how it can be improved.

Research and enquiry as a force for positive change

Engagement with research and in evidence-informed enquiry is highly valued by leaders. It produces powerful insights to support positive change. Impact is evident in policies and practices.

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Senior leaders and governors promote the development of collaborative projects (e.g. with a recognised research partner) that go beyond the school in order to support and learn from others.

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Research and enquiry as a basis for professional learning

In addition to the criteria described at the Established phase, the school takes opportunities to participate in research activities with other organisations.

Developing teachers as learners

The school participates actively in local and/or national communities of practice.

Research and enquiry as a force for positive change

Research and evidence-informed enquiry is used by the organisation to build leadership capacity,. e.g. research into leadership is used to question belief and, assumptions about how positive change happens.

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Here are some examples to help you make your evaluation

Research and enquiry as a basis for professional learning

The introduction of evidence-informed enquiry has yet to be introduced as an approach to CPD.

Research evidence is sometimes shared with staff by the senior team.

Evidence-informed enquiry is undertaken by small groups of staff as part of their individual or department development programme.

Research evidence is used by some groups to inform developments.

Evidence-informed enquiry is a feature of the CPD programme for most staff.

Research evidence is available to most staff to inform developments.

Evidence-informed enquiry is a significant element of the CPD programme and there is documented evidence of its impact on pupils and staff.

Research evidence is regularly used to inform developments.

In addition to the criteria described at the Established phase, the school takes opportunities to participate in research activities with other organisations.

Developing teachers as learners

Leaders are beginning to develop the staff as a community of learners. Opportunities for collaborative enquiry and open dialogue are yet to be established.

Leaders are developing the staff as a community of learners. There is some opportunity to work collaboratively on projects.

Leaders have developed all the staff as a community of learners. There are regular opportunities to engage in collaborative enquiry.

Leaders have a clear and sustained commitment to developing a community of learners. There is a climate that encourages open dialogue about practice and how it can be improved.

The school participates actively in local and/or national communities of practice.

Research and enquiry as a force for positive change

Engagement with research and in evidence-informed enquiry is infrequently used by leaders as an approach to change.

Engagement with research and in evidence-informed enquiry is beginning to be used by leaders as an approach to change.

Engagement with research and in evidence-informed enquiry is frequently used by leaders as a force for positive change. It is possible to see its growing influence on decision-making. For example, it is beginning to shape the School Improvement Plan.

Engagement with research and in evidence-informed enquiry is highly valued by leaders. It produces powerful insights to support positive change. Impact is evident in policies and practices.

Research and evidence-informed enquiry is used by the organisation to build leadership capacity, e.g. research into leadership is used to question belief and assumptions about how positive change happens.

NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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2. Learning and participation

This item invites you to consider the extent to which the whole school or college community has an opportunity to engage with research and in enquiry. It asks you to consider how well these opportunities contribute to developing reflective practitioners.

There are few opportunities to engage in evidence-informed enquiry.

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Climate for dialogue and innovation

Organisational culture can be risk-averse and opportunity for dialogue is sometimes constrained.

Involving students and the wider community

Students, and the wider school community, have few opportunities to influence school improvement.

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Some staff have opportunities to engage in evidence-informed enquiry.

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Climate for dialogue and innovation

The climate for learning offers opportunity for reflective dialogue. Staff are beginning tog access academic research to inform discussion about practice.

Involving students and the wider community

Students, and the wider school community, have some opportunities to participate in school improvement initiatives.

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Many staff have the opportunity to engage in evidence-informed enquiry as a planned aspect of the CPD programme.

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Climate for dialogue and innovation

The climate for learning is open. Most staff feel comfortable engaging in honest reflection and dialogue about their own practice and the implications for practice from academic research.

Involving students and the wider community

Students, and the wider school community, have regular opportunities to contribute to school improvement initiatives. The school encourages student feedback.

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All staff have the opportunity to engage in evidence-informed enquiry and most actively participate. The school participates in local and national research activities.

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Climate for dialogue and innovation

The climate for learning encourages innovation with open and honest dialogue that can, at times, challenge existing custom and beliefs. Academic research is actively critiqued and teachers are encouraged to expand their teaching approaches/methods, taking evidence-informed managed risks.

Involving students and the wider community

Students are actively engaged in enquiry as important stakeholders in improving learning.

The wider school community has the opportunity to participate in activity and enquiry to enhance student outcomes.

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The school has a track record of participation in local and national research activities and/or engagement in community of practice networks that has been sustained over a number of years.

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Climate for dialogue and innovation

Participation in activities that extend beyond the school add value. The use of external projects and critical friends, for example, often act as a catalyst to stimulate innovative thinking, challenge some assumptions and enhance practice.

Involving students and the wider community

Students are supported to act as researchers and investigate themes they identify as features of high-quality learning. Their findings are valued by the organisation.

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Here are some examples to help you make your evaluation

Climate for dialogue and innovation

Organisational culture can be risk-averse and opportunity for dialogue is sometimes constrained.

The climate for learning offers opportunity for reflective dialogue. Staff are beginning to access academic research to inform discussion about practice

The climate for learning is open. Most staff feel comfortable engaging in honest reflection and dialogue about their own practice and the implications for practice from academic research.

The climate for learning encourages innovation with open and honest dialogue that can, at times, challenge existing custom and beliefs. Academic research is actively critiqued and teachers are encouraged to expand their teaching approaches/methods, taking evidence-informed managed risks.

Participation in activities that extend beyond the school add value. The use of external projects and critical friends, for example, often act as a catalyst to stimulate innovative thinking, challenge some assumptions and enhance practice.

Involving students and the wider community

Students, and the wider school community, have few opportunities to influence school improvement.

Students, and the wider school community, have some opportunities to participate in school improvement initiatives.

Students, and the wider school community, have regular opportunities to contribute to school improvement initiatives. The school encourages student feedback.

Students are actively engaged in enquiry as important stakeholders in improving learning.

The wider school community has the opportunity to participate in activity and enquiry to enhance student outcomes.

Students are supported to act as researchers and investigate themes they identify as features of high-quality learning. Their findings are valued by the organisation.

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Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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3. Managing resources

This item invites you to consider the availability and use of resources, including access to high-quality research materials and methods.

Resources to support research use and enquiry are not yet identified as a feature of professional learning. Access to high-quality research materials and methods is limited.

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Roles and responsibilities

Formal roles and responsibilities have yet to be established.

Making time for research and enquiry

Little time has yet to be ring-fenced for collaborative enquiry and reflective dialogue.

Access to research evidence and robust methodology

Many teachers are unclear about sources of reliable research evidence.

Support and expertise of critical friends

Access to external expertise isexpertise (for example, a partnership with a local university or research organisation) limited.

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Resources are sometimes identified to support one-off projects. Participating staff have access to research materials and methods.

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Roles and responsibilities

A named person is identified to organise research and enquiry activities. They liaise with the senior leadership team.

Making time for research and enquiry

Time is made available for some staff to participate in collaborative enquiry and reflective dialogue.

Access to research evidence and robust methodology

Teachers have access to sources of research evidence. The evidence is sometimes not available in an easily accessible format. Some teachers lack confidence in applying it to their own practice.

Support and expertise of critical friends

External expertise is sometimes available to support one-off projects.

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Resources to support research use and enquiry are regularly identified in the school improvement plan. Most staff have access to high-quality research materials and methods.

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Roles and responsibilities

There is a research lead linked closely to the development of the CPD programme. They identify links between the research evidence base and priorities for school development.

Making time for research and enquiry

Time is managed to allow some opportunity for most staff to participate in collaborative enquiry and reflective dialogue.

Access to research evidence and robust methodology

Many teachers have access to authoritative research evidence from a number of sources. It is often made available in a manageable and practical form. There is growing confidence in applying research evidence to their own practice.

Support and expertise of critical friends

External expertise is available to support projects.

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Resources to support research use and enquiry are allocated systematically and over time to address development priorities. All staff have access to well-organised high-quality research materials and methods.

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Roles and responsibilities

There is an effective research lead linked to the development of the CPD programme. Well-established methodologies underpin activity and the impact on learning outcomes is evaluated.

Making time for research and enquiry

Time is scheduled throughout the year to allow adequate time for collaborative enquiry and reflective dialogue as part of ongoing CPD for all staff. Time is available for the research/CPD lead teacher to perform effectively.

Access to research evidence and robust methodology

All teachers have access to authoritative research evidence from a number of sources* in a manageable and practical form. They are confident in applying research to their own practice.

Support and expertise of critical friends

External expertise is available to support projects when required, e.g. specialists are often used as critical friends offering expertise and challenge.

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The school pro-actively bids for additional resources to support research and enquiry and successfully participates in external projects.

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Roles and responsibilities

The research lead actively participates in local and national research networks (e.g. researchED) creating mutual benefit for external partners and the school.

Making time for research and enquiry

The senior team schedule time annually to evaluate the impact of research and enquiry on practice. This evaluation informs the next cycle of the school development plan.

Access to research evidence and robust methodology

The school pro-actively monitors sources of authoritative research and the potential implications for school development. Reputable sources are used to shape action.

Support and expertise of critical friends

External expertise is available through ongoing and sustained relationships with research partners.

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Here are some examples to help you make your evaluation

Roles and responsibilities

Formal roles and responsibilities have yet to be established.

A named person is identified to organise research and enquiry activities. They liaise with the senior leadership team.

There is a research lead linked closely to the development of the CPD programme. They identify links between the research evidence base and priorities for school development.

There is an effective research lead linked to the development of the CPD programme. Well-established methodologies underpin activity and the impact on learning outcomes is evaluated.

The research lead actively participates in local and national research networks (e.g. researchED) creating mutual benefit for external partners and the school.

Making time for research and enquiry

Little time has yet to be ring fenced for collaborative enquiry and reflective dialogue.

Time is made available for some staff to participate in collaborative enquiry and reflective dialogue.

Time is managed to allow some opportunity for most staff to participate in collaborative enquiry and reflective dialogue.

Time is scheduled throughout the year to allow adequate time for collaborative enquiry and reflective dialogue as part of ongoing CPD for all staff. Time is available for the research/CPD lead teacher to perform effectively.

The senior team schedule time annually to evaluate the impact of research and enquiry on practice. This evaluation informs the next cycle of the school development plan.

Access to research evidence and robust methodology

Many teachers are unclear about sources of reliable research evidence.

Teachers have access to sources of research evidence. The evidence is sometimes not available in an easily accessible format. Some teachers lack confidence in applying it to their own practice.

Many teachers have access to authoritative research evidence from a number of sources. It is often made available in a manageable and practical form. There is growing confidence in applying research evidence to their own practice.

All teachers have access to authoritative research evidence from a number of sources* in a manageable and practical form. They are confident in applying research to their own practice.

The school pro-actively monitors sources of authoritative research and the potential implications for school development. Reputable sources are used to shape action.

(* Sources such as EEF Toolkit, What Works Centres York, Durham, NFER make evidence available in accessible formats)

Support and expertise of critical friends

Access to external expertise (for example, a partnership with a local university or research organisation) is limited.

External expertise is sometimes available to support one-off projects.

External expertise is available to support projects.

External expertise is available to support projects when required. e.g. specialists are often used as critical friends offering expertise and challenge.

External expertise is available through ongoing and sustained relationships with research partners.

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Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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4. Setting priorities and using research to inform action

This item invites you to consider the extent to which your priorities are based upon an analysis of needs. Consider how well developments are informed by research evidence.

The focus for enquiry is not related to identified school improvement priorities. Enquiry is not taking place, or is not yet rooted in research evidence.

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Needs identification and setting priorities

Few tools are used to identify needs (There may be, for example, an over-reliance on a single source of evidence such as a set of test results or a questionnaire with a small sample size).

The focus for professional learning

Professional learning is often driven by external agendas. (E.g. changes to Inspection regimes or new national assessments).

The influence of authoritative research

Authoritative research evidence is not yet used to shape action or identify areas for future developments.

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The focus for enquiry is usually informed by identified school improvement priorities. Enquiry is sometimes linked to research evidence.

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Needs identification and setting priorities

More than one tool is used to build a picture of practice and identify needs.

The focus for professional learning

Professional learning priorities take account of both internal and external agendas.

The influence of authoritative research

Authoritative research evidence is beginning to be used to shape action or identify areas for future developments.

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The focus for enquiry is directly responsive to specific school improvement priorities. Enquiry is informed by research evidence.

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Needs identification and setting priorities

A number of quantitative and qualitative tools are used to build up a picture of practice in order to identify needs and set priorities.

The focus for professional learning

Professional learning priorities are identified by the school and carefully balanced against external agendas.

The influence of authoritative research

Authoritative research evidence is used to inform action and suggest areas for future activity.

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The focus for enquiry is informed by systematic and thorough analysis of school improvement priorities. Enquiry is regularly shaped by research evidence

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Needs identification and setting priorities

A variety of tools are used to build a well-rounded picture of practice upon which to base action. Quantitative and qualitative evidence is triangulated and the perspectives of different stakeholders are taken into account. (For example, work samples, pupil surveys, peer observations as well as pupil performance data)

The focus for professional learning

Professional learning priorities are identified by the school based on a comprehensive analysis of current practice. School priorities are carefully balanced against external agendas.

The influence of authoritative research

Authoritative research evidence is frequently used to inform action, stimulate professional reflection and identify areas for future activity.

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In addition to being at the Established stage, the school's engagement with research will sometimes challenge existing beliefs and practices.

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Needs identification and setting priorities

In addition to displaying the features of the Established stage, the schools engagement with the wider education community will involve the use of tools that contribute to exploring national or system level needs and priorities (e.g. a national pilot).

The focus for professional learning

The school is proactive in using its expertise in evidence-based learning to support others.

The influence of authoritative research

Authoritative research evidence is used to both affirm and, at times, to challenge and test practice.

Close

Here are some examples to help you make your evaluation

Needs identification and setting priorities

Few tools are used to identify needs

(There may be, for example, an over-reliance on a single source of evidence such as a set of test results or a questionnaire with a small sample size)

More than one tools is used to build a picture of practice and identify needs.

A number of quantitative and qualitative tools, are used to build up a picture of practice in order to identify needs and set priorities.

A variety of tools are used to build a well-rounded picture of practice upon which to base action. Quantitative and qualitative evidence is triangulated and the perspectives of different stakeholders are taken into account.

(For example, work samples, pupil surveys, peer observations as well as pupil performance data)

In addition to displaying the features of the Established stage, the school's engagement with the wider education community will involve the use of tools that contribute to exploring national or system level needs and priorities (e.g. a national pilot).

The focus for professional learning

Professional learning is often driven by external agendas. (E.g. changes to Inspection regimes or new national assessments).

Professional learning priorities take account of both internal and external agendas.

Professional learning priorities are identified by the school and carefully balanced against external agendas.

Professional learning priorities are identified by the school based on a comprehensive analysis of current practice. School priorities are carefully balanced against external agendas.

The school is proactive in using its expertise in evidence-based learning to support others.

The influence of authoritative research

Authoritative research evidence is not yet used to shape action or identify areas for future developments.

Authoritative research evidence is beginning to be used to shape action or identify areas for future developments.

Authoritative research evidence is used to inform action and suggest areas for future activity.

Authoritative research evidence is frequently used to inform action, stimulate professional reflection and identify areas for future activity.

Authoritative research evidence is used to both affirm and, at times, to challenge and test practice.

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Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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5. Using a rigorous methodology for enquiry

This item invites you to consider the rigour with which enquiries are undertaken.

The school has yet to develop a robust methodology to structure teacher enquiry.

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Robust methodologies and quality assurance

Enquiries are undertaken but sometimes lack rigour as few of the quality indicators listed below are in place.

  1. Needs are identified,
  2. Baselines are captured,
  3. Research evidence is consulted,
  4. Time for activity, collaboration and dialogue is scheduled,
  5. Findings are analysed and interpreted,
  6. Learning is embedded into ongoing practice.

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The school has adopted a robust methodology to structure teacher enquiry. It is used to support some projects.

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Robust methodologies and quality assurance

Enquiries are undertaken with a degree of rigour as some of the quality indicators are in place.

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The school has an established robust methodology and support materials to ensure that teacher enquiries are well structured. Many projects make use of these tools.

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Robust methodologies and quality assurance

Enquiries are undertaken with increasing rigour as most of the quality indicators are in place for projects.

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The school has an established robust methodology to ensure that teacher enquiries are well structured. The methodologies are used consistently across the school/organisation.

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Robust methodologies and quality assurance

Enquiries are rigorous and all of the quality indicators are in place. The school has developed and uses a recognised methodology for enquiry and the methods are applied with thoroughness.

Quality assurance often comes from using well-designed tools and methods.

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The school participates in local and national initiatives and makes use of methodologies designed by reputable research organisations. These add value to the school’s systems.

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Robust methodologies and quality assurance

Projects are often quality assured by working with an external research partner or critical friend.

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Here are some examples to help you make your evaluation

Robust methodologies and quality assurance

Enquiries are undertaken but sometimes lack rigour as few of the quality indicators listed below are in place.

  1. Needs are identified,
  2. Baselines are captured,
  3. Research evidence is consulted,
  4. Time for activity, collaboration and dialogue is scheduled,
  5. Findings are analysed and interpreted,
  6. Learning is embedded into ongoing practice.

Enquiries are undertaken with a degree of rigour as some of the quality indicators are in place.

Enquiries are undertaken with increasing rigour as most of the quality indicators are in place for projects.

Enquiries are rigorous and all of the quality indicators are in place. The school has developed and uses a recognised methodology for enquiry and the methods are applied with thoroughness.

Quality assurance often comes from using well-designed tools and methods.

Projects are often quality assured by working with an external research partner or critical friend.

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Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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6. The impact of evidence-informed enquiry

This item invites you to consider the how well evidence-informed enquiry impacts on the quality of teaching and learner outcomes.

Methods to evaluate impact are not always built into development projects and enquiries.

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Capturing starting points

Development projects and enquiries take place but do not always have well captured starting points.

Impact on pupil outcomes

Evaluation can rely on anecdotal or impressionistic evidence (e.g. based on the views of a few colleagues or pupils)

Impact on professional learning

Professional learning is beginning to be enhanced by engagement in enquiry.

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Methods to evaluate impact are built into most development projects and enquiries.

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Capturing starting points

Development projects and enquiries capture starting points against which impact can be evaluated.

Impact on pupil outcomes

Evaluation attempts to draw on a few sources in addition to the views of colleagues or pupils

Impact on professional learning

Professional learning benefits from participating in enquiry. For example, there is an increase in the frequency of dialogue about pedagogy.

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Credible methods to evaluate impact on pupil outcomes and teaching and learning are built into projects and enquiries at the outset.

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Capturing starting points

Development projects and enquiries use a number of methods to capture starting points and baselines against which impact can be evaluated. (e.g. work samples, test scores, questionnaires, observation tools).

Impact on pupil outcomes

Evaluation benefits from the use of a number of qualitative and quantitative sources of data.

Impact on professional learning

Professional learning is enhanced by participating in enquiry. The quality of dialogue about pedagogy is deepened by engagement with research

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Credible methods to evaluate impact on pupil outcomes and teaching and learning are routinely built into all projects and enquiries. Evidence is often triangulated using a variety of tools.

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Capturing starting points

Development projects and enquiries routinely capture starting points and credible baselines against which impact can be evaluated. They use a variety of tools that will allow evidence to be triangulated and, where appropriate, make reference to external benchmarks.

Impact on pupil outcomes

Evaluation benefits from the use of a variety of qualitative and quantitative sources of data. Staff are supported in choosing methods that are fit for purpose and, where appropriate, secure expert help with research design, analyses and interpretation of results.

Impact on professional learning

Professional learning is significantly enhanced by enquiries undertaken honestly and with integrity. There is opportunity for reflection, especially when findings are unexpected or challenging. The school can identify a number of improvements in teaching and learning.

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Evaluation of impact is robust and often benefits from reference to external benchmarks and reference points offered by external research partners.

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Capturing starting points

Where possible, the school/organisation seeks to benchmark results against credible and appropriate external benchmarks. They may, for example, use national or international data sets (e.g. NFER pupil surveys, data on qualifications)

Impact on pupil outcomes

See above. Also active participation in research communities sometimes leads to larger projects that may, for example, use methodologies such as randomised control trials to evaluate impact.

Impact on professional learning

The school is recognised as a critical user of research evidence and enquiry as a vehicle for professional learning. It is open to sharing and supporting the learning of others.

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Capturing starting points

Development projects and enquiries take place but do not always have well captured starting points.

Development projects and enquiries capture starting points against which impact can be evaluated.

Development projects and enquiries use a number of methods to capture starting points and baselines against which impact can be evaluated. (e.g. work samples, test scores, questionnaires, observation tools).

Development projects and enquiries routinely capture starting points and credible baselines against which impact can be evaluated. They use a variety of tools that will allow evidence to be triangulated and, where appropriate, make reference to external benchmarks.

Where possible, the school/organisation seeks to benchmark results against credible and appropriate external benchmarks. They may, for example, use national or international data sets (e.g. NFER pupil surveys, data on qualifications).

Impact on pupil outcomes

Evaluation can rely on anecdotal or impressionistic evidence (e.g. based on the views of a few colleagues or pupils).

Evaluation attempts to draw on a few sources in addition to the views of colleagues or pupils.

Evaluation benefits from the use of a number of qualitative and quantitative sources of data.

Evaluation benefits from the use of a variety of qualitative and quantitative sources of data. Staff are supported in choosing methods that are fit for purpose and, where appropriate, secure expert help with research design, analyses and interpretation of results.

See above. Also active participation in research communities sometimes leads to larger projects that may, for example, use methodologies such as randomised control trials to evaluate impact.

Impact on professional learning

Professional learning is beginning to be enhanced by engagement in enquiry.

Professional learning benefits from participating in enquiry. For example, there is an increase in the frequency of dialogue about pedagogy.

Professional learning is enhanced by participating in enquiry. The quality of dialogue about pedagogy is deepened by engagement with research

Professional learning is significantly enhanced by enquiries undertaken honestly and with integrity. There is opportunity for reflection, especially when findings are unexpected or challenging. The school can identify a number of improvements in teaching and learning.

The school is recognised as a critical user of research evidence and enquiry as a vehicle for professional learning. It is open to sharing and supporting the learning of others.

NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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7. Embedding and sustaining enquiry

This item invites you to consider the extent to which the whole school is able to learn from its engagement with research and enquiry. In particular, you should consider how well it embeds and sustains successful outcomes into the ongoing life of the school/organisation.

The school has yet to develop reliable ways to capture, share and embed knowledge from research and enquiry in ongoing practice.

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Knowledge capture

Arrangements to capture and share knowledge from research and enquiry are not yet established.

Embedding and sustaining successful outcomes

Opportunities to discuss the implications that arise from research and enquiry is yet to be systematically identified.

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The school is beginning to develop reliable ways to capture, share and embed knowledge from research and enquiry in ongoing practice.

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Knowledge capture

The arrangements to capture and share knowledge from research and enquiry are under development. Individuals and groups make their findings available to others.

Embedding and sustaining successful outcomes

There are opportunities to discuss the learning that emerges from research and enquiry. It is not always clear how the outcomes will be built into ongoing practice.

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The school has systems in place to capture and share knowledge from research and enquiry.

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Knowledge capture

Arrangements to capture and share knowledge from research and enquiry are in place. Lessons learned from enquiry and research are made available to all teachers.

Embedding and sustaining successful outcomes

There are opportunities for staff to discuss and act upon learning that emerges from research and enquiry.

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The school is able to demonstrate how knowledge from research and enquiry is systematically captured, shared and embedded into the ongoing practice of the school.

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Knowledge capture

The arrangements to capture and share knowledge from research and enquiry are organised and efficient. Lessons learned from enquiry and research clearly supports the future development of individuals and the school.

Embedding and sustaining successful outcomes

There are opportunities for staff to discuss and act upon learning that emerges from research and enquiry.

In schools where enquiry is well-established teachers are able to demonstrate the practical ways that new learning has been successfully built into the ongoing practice.

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The knowledge gained from research and enquiry is made available to others beyond the school, where the methods are sufficiently robust to justify widespread sharing.

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Knowledge capture

Knowledge is shared across networks for the potential benefit of others and the wider educational system. (e.g. journals and educational press).

Embedding and sustaining successful outcomes

The school is generous in sharing its expertise with others and the wider system. Some staff, for example, offer workshops or act as coaches to others within and beyond the school. At the same time, the school exercises caution and is discriminating, e.git does not present unrepresentative research to others.

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Knowledge capture

Arrangements to capture and share knowledge from research and enquiry are not yet established.

The arrangements to capture and share knowledge from research and enquiry are under development. Individuals and groups make their findings available to others.

Arrangements to capture and share knowledge from research and enquiry are in place. Lessons learned from enquiry and research are made available to all teachers.

The arrangements to capture and share knowledge from research and enquiry are organised and efficient. Lessons learned from enquiry and research clearly supports the future development of individuals and the school.

Knowledge is shared across networks for the potential benefit of others and the wider educational system. (e.g. journals and educational press).

Embedding and sustaining successful outcomes

Opportunities to discuss the implications that arise from research and enquiry is yet to be systematically identified.

There are opportunities to discuss the learning that emerges from research and enquiry.

It is not always clear how the outcomes will be built into ongoing practice.

There are opportunities for staff to discuss and act upon learning that emerges from research and enquiry.

There are opportunities for staff to discuss and act upon learning that emerges from research and enquiry.

In schools where enquiry is well-established teachers are able to demonstrate the practical ways that new learning has been successfully built into the ongoing practice.

The school is generous in sharing its expertise with others and the wider system. Some staff, for example, offer workshops or act as coaches to others within and beyond the school. At the same time, the school exercises caution and is discriminating, e.git does not present unrepresentative research to others.

NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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8. Working collaboratively

This item invites you to consider how well the school/organisation participates in and benefits from collaborative learning, both within and beyond itself.

The school has a programme of professional development but opportunities to work collaboratively on enquiry projects are underdeveloped.

There are few links with other organisations to support enquiry.

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Support for collaborative learning

Practical approaches to support collaborative learning are yet to be established.

Links and networks

The school has yet to develop links with other organisations as a source of support, expertise and critical friendship.

(These might include regional networks of schools, universities, research organisations).

Opportunities for accreditation

Opportunities to recognise individual and collective learning through formal accreditation or schemes are yet to be developed.

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The school has a programme of professional development that includes opportunities to work collaboratively on enquiry projects.

Some individuals or groups occasionally link with other organisations to support enquiry.

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Support for collaborative learning

Practical approaches to support collaborative learning are being developed and piloted by some groups.

Links and networks

The school is beginning to explore links with other organisations as a source of support, expertise and critical friendship. At times, expertise and evaluation can be constrained to what is 'in-house'.

Opportunities for accreditation

Opportunities for individuals to seek recognition through formal accreditation are being developed.

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The school increasingly feels like a community of learners with regular opportunity to work collaboratively on enquiry projects.

There are links with other organisations to support enquiry.

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Support for collaborative learning

A range of practical approaches is available to all teachers to support collaborative learning.

Links and networks

The school has some links with other organisations as a source of support, expertise and critical friendship. A degree of rigour is offered by the external challenge.

Opportunities for accreditation

There are opportunities for individuals to seek recognition through formal accreditation.

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The school operates as a thriving community of learners with regular and sustained opportunity to work collaboratively on enquiry projects.

There are ongoing and active links with other organisations and they add value to the quality of teaching and learning.

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Support for collaborative learning

A range of practical approaches is in place and they sustain high quality collaborative learning, e.g. lesson study, journal clubs, mentoring and cross-school collaboration.

Links and networks

The school is outward looking and has ongoing and active links with other organisations and/or networks. These networks provide support and challenge and are a useful source of expertise and critical friendship.

Opportunities for accreditation

There are opportunities to recognise individual and collective learning through formal accreditation (credits towards Masters Degrees) or schemes (such as The NFER Research Mark and Enquiring Teacher scheme). Encouragement and support is available to teachers wishing to participate.

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The school is active in participating in local and national networks. It is a source of advice and support for others.

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Support for collaborative learning

Support for collaborative learning extends beyond the school/organisation and is mutually beneficial to all participants.

Links and networks

The school is generous with its expertise and often makes a contribution to the development of other organisations and individuals.

Opportunities for accreditation

The school/organisation has a track record in supporting staff to successfully participate in external projects and along accreditation pathways.

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Support for collaborative learning

Practical approaches to support collaborative learning are yet to be established.

Practical approaches to support collaborative learning are being developed and piloted by some groups.

A range of practical approaches is available to all teachers to support collaborative learning.

A range of practical approaches is in place and they sustain high quality collaborative learning, e.g. lesson study, journal clubs, mentoring and cross-school collaboration.

Support for collaborative learning extends beyond the school/organisation and is mutually beneficial to all participants.

Links and networks

The school has yet to develop links with other organisations as a source of support, expertise and critical friendship.

(These might include regional networks of schools, universities, research organisations).

The school is beginning to explore links with other organisations as a source of support, expertise and critical friendship. At times, expertise and evaluation can be constrained to what is 'in-house'.

The school has some links with other organisations as a source of support, expertise and critical friendship. A degree of rigour is offered by the external challenge.

The school is outward looking and has ongoing and active links with other organisations and/or networks. These networks provide support and challenge and are a useful source of expertise and critical friendship.

The school is generous with its expertise and often makes a contribution to the development of other organisations and individuals.

Opportunities for accreditation

Opportunities to recognise individual and collective learning through formal accreditation or schemes are yet to be developed.

Opportunities for individuals to seek recognition through formal accreditation are being developed.

There are opportunities for individuals to seek recognition through formal accreditation.

There are opportunities to recognise individual and collective learning through formal accreditation (credits towards Masters Degrees) or schemes (such as The NFER Research Mark and Enquiring Teacher scheme). Encouragement and support is available to teachers wishing to participate.

The school/organisation has a track record in supporting staff to successfully participate in external projects and along accreditation pathways.

NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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Your Results

Here is your review of your school's current level of engagement with research and enquiry. The chart gives a visual representation of where you are. You can also access a report for your school and suggested resources to help your school become more research-engaged.

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Here is a report showing how you have reviewed your school's research engagement and how this could be moved forward.

NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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How it works Try the Self-Review Tool

Background

NFER has developed this Self-Review Tool as a free online resource for staff in schools and other educational organisations. It helps you to answer the question: 'how can engaging with research help my school to improve?' It enables you to review your school/organisation’s research engagement against eight key statements.

The evidence

There is much evidence that engagement with research and in enquiry helps schools improve. Schools that use academic or professional research findings to support change often have the best outcomes (Schleicher, 2011). Schools that adopt a culture of enquiry, underpinned by an understanding of academic or professional research, are also most likely to improve teaching and learning and improve outcomes for young people (CUREE, 2011). Our tool is designed to help you on this journey.

What does a research-engaged school look like?

Research-engaged schools are self-critical, evaluative and adaptive. Research is embedded in whole-school improvement processes and continuing professional development (CPD). They access and apply findings from others' research, conduct their own enquiry and often work in collaboration with other schools and/or researchers.

What do we mean by 'engaging with research and in enquiry'?

There are many different types of research. Throughout the tool you will see that we use the terms 'with research' and 'in enquiry'.

  • When we say 'with research', we mean how you access, understand and apply academic or professionally produced research in your local setting.
  • When we say 'in enquiry', we mean how you monitor and evaluate your own teaching and learning approaches and school-level developments, or how you encourage a culture of reflective practice through a systematic approach to CPD.
  • There is often a close relationship between engaging with research and in enquiry.

Why has NFER developed the Self-Review Tool?

Schools are key partners for us and we continually work to develop ways to help teachers and school leaders improve student learning, teaching and assessment. We use our evidence from research to provide accessible information, to help schools demonstrate improvement.

As a not-for-profit organisation and a registered charity, we plough all our income back into supporting our mission to improve the lives of learners, hence why this tool has been developed as a free resource.

NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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Background Try the Self-Review Tool

How it works

The tool adopts three simple steps:

  1. Review. You review your school's stage of engagement against NFER's eight key statements
  2. Report. We provide you with a chart and report including next steps
  3. Resources. We signpost you to resources to help with your action plan
The eight key statements have been developed by NFER researchers in collaboration with teachers and other education professionals to show what a research-engaged school/organisation looks like the statements cover the following areas:

Climate
  1. Leadership and vision
  2. Learning and participation
  3. Managing resources
Practice
  1. Setting priorities
  2. Rigorous methodology
  3. Impact
Future
  1. Embedding and sustaining
  2. Working collaboratively

There are two ways to use the Self-Review Tool:

  • Quick review. Ideal for individuals who want to see what is involved and get a report and resources specific to your review. There is no login and no details or results are stored.
  • Full review. This allows a representative from your school/organisation to create an account, allowing all staff to complete the review and then gives an average picture for the whole organisation. The results can be filtered by role (not individual) to see different perspectives. The results are saved and can be revisited to see changes over time. You can create a pdf of the report and resources to share with stakeholders in the school/organisation.

So, why not try out the tool first using the Quick Review and then extend it to the Full Review when you want to do it more formally and widely?

Please note, this tool does not work on Internet Explorer 8 or earlier versions.

This tool can be used by schools, colleges, early years settings and training providers. The term 'school' is used generally to apply to all of these organisations for space-saving reasons.

NFER Evidence for Excellence in Education

Self-Review Tool for research engagement in schools and education providers

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Try the Self-Review Tool

Credits

NFER would like to acknowledge the experts and authors whose work has helped to shape this Self-Review Tool. In particular we would mention:

Becheikh, N., Ziam, S., Idrissi, O., Castonguay, Y. and Landry, R. (2009). 'How to improve knowledge transfer strategies and practices in education? Answers from a systematic literature review', Research in Higher Education Journal, 7, 1–21.

Centre for the Use of Research & Evidence in Education (2011). Report of Professional Practitioner Use of Research Review: Practitioner Engagement in and/or with Research. Coventry: CUREE [online].
Available: Click to view PDF [13 January, 2015].

Coe, R., Aloisi, C., Higgins, S. and Elliot Major, L., (2014). What Makes Great Teaching? Review of the Underpinning Research. London: The Sutton Trust.

Hattie, J. and Yates, G.C.R. (2014). Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn. Abingdon: Routledge.

Dagenais, C., Lysenko, L., Abrami, P., Bernard, R., Ramde, J. and Janosz, M. (2012). ‘Use of research-based information by school practitioners and determinants of use: a review of empirical evidence’, Evidence and Policy, 8, 3, 285–309.

Edwards, A. (2011). ‘User engagement and the processes of educational research.’ In: Fenwick, T. and Farrell, L. (Eds) Knowledge Mobilization and Educational Research: Politics, Languages and Responsibilities. Abingdon: Routledge.

Goldacre, B. (2013). Building Evidence into Education [online]. Available: Click to view PDF [13 January, 2015]. Gough, D. (2013). ‘Knowledge mobilisation in education in England.’ In: Levin, B., Qi, J., Edelstein, H. and Sohn, J. (Eds) The Impact of Research in Education. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Handscomb, G. and MacBeath, J. (2003). The Research Engaged School. Chelmsford: Essex County Council.

Hargreaves, D. (1996). 'Teaching as a research-based profession: possibilities and prospects.' Paper presented at the Teacher Training Agency Annual Lecture, April [online]. Available: Click to view PDF [13 January, 2015].

Judkins, M., Stacey, O., McCrone, T. and Inniss, M. (2014). United Learning Teachers’ Use of Research Evidence. Slough: NFER [online]. Available: Click to go to website [13 January, 2015].

Lawson, A. (Ed) (2009). Action Research: Making a Difference in Education (Volume 1). Slough: NFER.

Lawson, A. (Ed) (2008). Research Tool-kit: the How-to Guide from Practical Research for Education (Volume 1). Slough: NFER.

Lawson, A. (Ed) (2011). Research Tool-kit: the How-to Guide from Practical Research for Education (Volume 2). Slough: NFER.

Levin, B. (2013). ‘To know is not enough: research knowledge and its use’, Review of Education, 1, 1, 2–31.

National Foundation for Educational Research (2014). Creating a Research engaged School: a Guide for Senior Leaders. Slough: NFER [online]. Available: Click to view PDF [13 January, 2015].

Nelson, J. and O’Beirne, C. (2014). Using Evidence in the Classroom: What Works and Why? Slough: NFER [online]. Available: Click to view PDF [13 January, 2015].

Nutley, S. (2013). ‘Reflections on the mobilisation of education research.’ In: Levin, B., Qi, J., Edelstein, H. and Sohn, J. (Eds) The Impact of Research in Education: an International Perspective. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Pollard, A. with Anderson, J., Maddock, M., Swaffield, S., Warin, J. and Warwick, P. (2008). Reflective Teaching: Evidence-informed Professional Practice. Third edn. London: Continuum. Saunders, L. (2010). ‘The changing role of research in education’, Education Today, 60, 2, 16–21. Schleicher, A. (2011). ‘Building a High-Quality Teaching Profession: Lessons from around the world’, OECD PublishingSebba, J., Kent, P. and Tregenza, J. (2012). Joint Practice Development: What Does the Evidence Suggest are Effective Approaches? Nottingham: NCSL.

Sharp, C., Eames, A., Sanders, D. and Tomlinson, K. (2005). Postcards from Research-engaged Schools. Slough: NFER [online]. Available: Click here to visit website.

Sharp, C., Eames, A., Sanders, D. and Tomlinson, K. (2006). Leading a Research-Engaged School. Nottingham: NCSL.

Sharples, J. (2013). Evidence for the Frontline. London: Alliance for Useful Evidence [online]. Available: Click to view PDF [13 January, 2015].