As educators maintain focus on quality instruction of curriculum that is aligned with the content and cognitive level specified in state standards, the likelihood of student learning and proficiency on state assessments increases. Proficiency on state assessments results from students showing their mastery of the aligned curriculum. Quality instruction that matches what students need to learn by leveraging their prior knowledge and learning preferences holds the most promise for meeting the challenges of a high-accountability educational system.
According to the Council for Exception Children (2011), teachers must use evidence-based practices (EBPs) to ensure their students receive the highest quality instruction. “EBPs are shown by high-quality research to meaningfully improve student outcomes” (Torres, Farley, & Cook, 2012, p. 64). In other words, the research has established that a given practice or program positively affects student learning (IRIS Center, EBP, Part 1, 2014). Implementing EBPs embodies the heart of teaching – using effective quality instruction to promote student learning and mastery of the aligned curriculum.
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The IRIS Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), has a website that offers hundreds of resources that support many instructional needs. IRIS modules offer training and information on dozens of important topics like evidence-based practices and programs, response to intervention, classroom behavior management, assessment and progress monitoring, differentiated instruction, learning strategies and many more subjects that are important to today’s educators.
Links to IRIS Modules on EBPs
Evidence-Based Practices (Part 1): Identifying and Selecting a Practice or Program
Part 1 of the EBP modules outlines the process for identifying and selecting an evidence-based practice or program. Thus, the module answers the questions: What is an evidence-based practice or program? How can education professionals identify and select evidence-based practices or programs?
Evidence-Based Practices (Part 2): Implementing a Practice or Program With Fidelity
Part 2 of the EBP modules unpacks how to implement an EBP with fidelity to ensure that students experience the intended benefits. Thus, the module answers the following questions: What is fidelity of implementation? How can an educator implement an evidence-based practice or program with fidelity?
Evidence-Based Practices (Part 3): Evaluating Learner Outcomes and Fidelity
Part 3 of the EBP modules addresses how to evaluate whether a group of students is receiving the EBP with fidelity and if it is working. Thus, the module answers the questions: What is the process for evaluating the effectiveness of an EBP with your children or students? How do you measure infant, child, or student performance? How do you know whether you are correctly implementing an EBP? How do you know whether an EBP is effective with your children or students?
Evidence-Based Practices Summaries
Another helpful EBP resource on the IRIS website is a list of summaries of research on the effectiveness of various instructional interventions and strategies and the age groups for which they are designed.
Trustworthy Sources for Current Evidence-Based Practices for Students in Grades K–12
This page in the IRIS module on EBPs lists resources that supply information on research support for identified EBPs.
In conclusion, learning more about how to select EBPs that improve students’ learning hones the focus on quality instruction and improved learning outcomes.
Council for Exceptional Children. (2011). Evidence-based practice: Wanted, needed, and hard to get. Retrieved from http://www.bridges4kids.org/articles/2006/8-06/cec8-06.html#content
The IRIS Center. (2014a). Evidence-based practices (Part 1): Identifying and selecting a practice or program. Retrieved from http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/module/ebp_01/
The IRIS Center. (2014b). Evidence-based practices (Part 2): Implementing a practice or program with fidelity. Retrieved from http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/module/ebp_02
The IRIS Center. (2014c). Evidence-based practices (Part 3): Evaluating learner outcomes and fidelity. Retrieved from http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/module/ebp_03/
Torres, C., Farley, C. A., & Cook, B.G. (2012) A special educator’s guide to successfully implementing evidence-based practices. Teaching Exceptional Children, 45(1), 64-73.