News: Learning Impact Fund grants

You might be aware that I recently attended a launch by Social Ventures Australia of their new Evidence for Learning project. This is an attempt  to conduct the kind of research in Australia that is undertaken by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) in the U.K. I have mixed feelings about large-scale randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in general and the EEF studies in particular because there is a tendency to test whole packages of intervention and compare them with business-as-usual. This leads to potentially confounded studies – if there is an effect then you can’t really know why.

However, I still think this is worth pursuing. I would rather have the EEF in the world than its absence because we can then attempt to apply pressure for good study designs. That’s why I cautiously welcome Evidence for Learning.

In this spirit, I’m going to pass on some news that I received from John Bush of the Evidence for Learning, “Learning Impact Fund”. The fund has release $1 million for two initiatives:

“One round is open to any education program designed to improve the academic achievement of children in Australia, and the second is for programs focused on building resilience skills in students in Victorian schools.”

It is my understanding that the former group will be part of RCTs but the resilience studies will be a more preliminary form of evaluation. Follow this link if you are interested.

I am not convinced about the idea of a resilience intervention but I am all in favour of conducting research that might prove me wrong. I will be particularly interested in how the participants propose to measure it…

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