Leveraging Evidence-based Practices: From Policy to Action

by Ronnie Detrich, Randy Keyworth, & Jack States (Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal 14[2], 121-142, 2016):

Education is a public health issue. Poor educational outcomes are correlated with many health and social ills. To improve the quality of education, it will be necessary to take advantage of the leverage points of policy, evidence, and implementation science. The idea of evidence informing policy may be non-controversial, but a closer examination of the concept suggests greater complexity than is readily apparent. Even if policy is informed by evidence, it is necessary to utilize what is known from implementation science to assure that policies are actually implemented well enough to achieve the desired benefits. In this paper, we discuss how policy, evidence, and implementation science can be integrated to leverage the impact of evidence-based practices and bring about meaningful, systematic change to the educational system. The change in mental health services in Norway is used as an exemplar for occasioning change. We also review policy initiatives that failed to achieve outcomes because evidence or implementation science was not part of the initiative. Finally, suggestions are made about these three elements that can be applied to bring about change in teacher preparation programs.

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