'Q Project' brings schools and research evidence closer to unlock student potential

A new Monash University project is helping schools to use research evidence to improve teaching and learning, thanks to a $6.3 million grant from the Paul Ramsay Foundation.

The Q Project, launched at Monash University on Monday 26 November 2018, is set to benefit 80,000 Australian students and 200 schools across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

The five-year study of research use in primary and secondary schools and classrooms will be the first of its kind ever conducted in Australia.

“The Q Project (Quality Use of Evidence Driving Quality Education) will work side-by-side with the education profession and education departments, to better support teachers and schools to understand how best to apply the right research for their particular improvement challenges and student needs,” said Q Project Director and Associate Professor Mark Rickinson from Monash University Faculty of Education.

“It will also help teachers and school leaders to become more confident and skilled users of research evidence through professional learning.”

Beginning in 2019, Monash University will work with 100 interested schools that may already be using research evidence, but wish to do it more effectively to achieve better outcomes for their students.

In later years, Monash will seek an additional 100 educators to be involved in a trial of professional learning resources and processes.

The Q Project will draw upon insights from a range of different schools that are using evidence well. It will also drive behaviour change among educators through a national campaign that champions evidence-use in Australian education.

“Often a gap exists between research and practical application, and many industries, from teaching, to law and health, grapple with the challenge of connecting research evidence with change on the ground,” said Associate Professor Rickinson.

“There are always schools that do this well, but in Australia there has been little research into knowing where this is happening and why.

“Our research will take learnings from the international evidence base and from schools that are applying evidence well and develop a system-wide framework to help educators to apply research evidence in practice.”

The Paul Ramsay Foundation’s commitment is the largest-ever gift to an education project at Monash, and represents a major step forward for the University’s landmark fundraising campaign, Change It. For Good.

Paul Ramsay Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Mr Simon Freeman, said that the Foundation was committed to supporting the teaching profession and improving outcomes for Australian students.

"The use of research evidence by teachers and schools is a hallmark of a high performing education system,” Mr Freeman.

"We believe the Q Project will not only encourage effective use of quality research evidence in Australia, it will feed into the growing international focus on the use of research evidence in teaching practice."

Project Q comes against the backdrop of the Gonski 2.0 Panel’s recommendation that ‘Australian schools need access to valid and reliable evidence … in an accessible format that can be readily translated into classroom use’.

Interested schools and organisations can contact edu-qproject.enquiries@monash.edu to find out how to get involved in the Q Project.

Watch a video about the ‘Q Project’ here