Classroom full of students sitting at their desks with a teacher at the blackboard

Our evidence base

Dr Keely Harper-Hill explains the different stages of research when developing prescriptive support programs, as well as the need for teachers to consider the purpose of research projects.

inclusionED is the result of research with input from: 

  • teachers
  • members of school leadership teams
  • professionals who are allied to education (such as therapists) 
  • education policymakers
  • parents/carers
  • students. 

Teachers and other professionals working in schools want to employ evidence-informed practices in their classrooms, but finding these practices can be difficult. In preparing inclusionED, educators emphatically told us that they needed to trust the evidence behind any sources of professional learning. 

inclusionED have collaborated with colleagues at Evidence for Learning to map inclusionED practices to the Evidence for Learning Toolkits. The Teaching & Learning Toolkit and the Early Childhood Education Toolkit are accessible summaries of education research. The two Toolkits are designed to support teachers, leaders and other educators to make evidence-informed decisions that will directly improve learning outcomes. The Toolkits provide high quality information from the existing evidence and an estimate of the robustness of that evidence based on:

  • the quantity of evidence available (i.e. the number of systematic reviews or meta-analyses and the number of primary studies which they synthesise)
  • the outcomes measured in those studies
  • the methodological quality of the available evidence
  • the consistency of impact estimates across the reviews and meta-analyses that have been synthesised.

 

The research behind inclusionED

The research that underpins inclusionED, funded by Autism CRC, undergoes a thorough peer-review process. The research teams contributing to inclusionED are second to none; they are from universities across Australia, and are working with on-the-ground partners to address the research questions of greatest concern to students, their parents/carers, teachers, and schools.

Some of the research on inclusionED investigates the use of specific approaches and programs in schools. Results may be measured in terms of education outcomes for students, or they may be based on teachers' experience using the approaches or programs. 

Other research findings require extrapolation to classroom practice. Our researchers work to do this in a way that is efficient, meaningful, and practical for educators. We welcome feedback on our efforts.

Meeting the needs of a range of learners

The teachers who participated in the design of inclusionED asked for support to meet the needs of a range of learners – not only students on the autism spectrum. 

Researchers are keen not to overstate or generalise their findings inappropriately. So, while the research on inclusionED is primarily focused on students on the autism spectrum, where possible, findings and resources support teachers to meet the needs of students who may or may not have a diagnosis of autism, but who share some of the needs of students on the spectrum.