Ontario Ministry of Education Research Strategy
(PDF, 246 KB)
The priority educational goals of the Ontario Ministry of Education are:
As a key strategy in advancing these goals, the ministry is committed to developing and implementing policies and programs that are evidence-based, research-informed and connected to the priority educational goals.
The Research & Evaluation Strategy comprises:
The ministry is committed to being evidence-based in the decisions we make, the policies we develop and the programs we implement. Good evidence includes the use of research and evaluation to inform our work. The ministry has an important role to play in developing, conducting, commissioning and communicating research connected to our priority goals.
Unfortunately, good quality education research does not always find its way into the hands of teachers and teaching assistants who work in the classroom, or to those who formulate education policy. Yet, we know that research can inform more effective practices that can result in improved student outcomes. Evidence from research and evaluation can also help to ensure resources are invested wisely and our future programs learn from the strengths and weaknesses of past approaches. Independent evaluation evidence also contributes to improving public confidence in the results we are achieving.
The Research & Evaluation Strategy is important because developing, applying and communicating about research and evaluation are central to our way of working and to achieving our priority goals.
Internally, the Ministry of Education is implementing a series of activities to effectively move the ministry to a place where evidence-based and research-informed policy and program development and decision-making is the norm.
These activities are intended to help ministry staff improve their ability to access, understand, commission and apply research and evaluation appropriately to inform policy and program decisions and to achieve our priority goals.
An intranet site is part of the series of capacity-building activities intended to support research-informed practices within the ministry. Both formal and informal networks of research contacts across the ministry are being developed.
Externally, the ministry is working collaboratively with educators, researchers and other key partners to engage each of these groups in connecting research to policy, program and practice.
Through the Ontario Education Research Panel, researchers and educators are linking up to identify research priorities, share findings, and collaborate on connecting research to practice. Both the research page on the ministry's public site and the annual Ontario Education Research Symposium are tools in helping make these connections.
The ministry's Research & Evaluation Strategy is moving forward within the ministry – and beyond – thanks to the concerted activities of a whole range of individuals and groups, all of whom are focused on the goals of: improved student achievement; reduced gaps in student achievement; and increased public confidence in public education.
The Assistant Deputy Ministers (ADMs) of the Ministry of Education meet on a regular basis to direct the ministry's research priorities to ensure they support the ministry's strategic directions and goals. The ADMs also ensure vertical, horizontal and collaborative alignment of research activities within their Divisions, across the ministry and with other ministries.
The ADMs' Steering Committee's terms of reference are to:
This position within the Ministry of Education provides central leadership for the ministry's research and evaluation activities. The Chief Research Officer (CRO) develops and promotes the ministry's Research & Evaluation Strategy. The CRO works with the ADMs' Research Steering Committee to ensure research and evaluation activities are focused on the ministry's strategic goals. The CRO also fosters collaboration across the ministry, and with its partners, toward a shared commitment to research connected to policy, program and practice.
The CRO's terms of reference are:
The CRO is also a member of the Ministry Research Coordination Team and the Ontario Education Research Panel.
This committee of staff from across the Ministry of Education promotes horizontal alignment within the ministry and with other ministries to identify collaborative research opportunities. The Chief Research Officer is a member of this team.
The terms of reference for the Ministry Research Coordination Team are to:
The Team has embarked on a series of projects to build research and evaluation capacity within the ministry, including an internal capacity building plan. The Team has created a series of formal and informal networks, including identifying “research contacts” throughout the ministry. There are sub-groups of the Ministry Research Coordination Team working on various ways of communicating about research, in-service learning sessions for ministry staff, and a research component on both the ministry's Intranet and Internet sites.
Individuals with rich backgrounds in education and research comprise this Panel. The Panel: promotes research and evaluation activities in Ontario; identifies research needs; fosters collaboration for integrating research, policy and practice; and shares examples of effective research-to-practice collaboration and communication. The Chief Research Officer is an ex-officio member of this group. Learn more
This symposium, held annually, brings together researchers, educators and policy makers within the research and education communities. It gives the participants opportunities to network, gain insights into existing research relative to ministry priorities, and identify gaps for future research. The Ontario Education Research Panel helps the ministry shape, plan and facilitate this symposium, and then encourages activity in the education research community in response to the themes coming out of the symposium. The ADMs' Steering Committee and Chief Research Officer provide senior direction about the priority themes for the Symposium. A staff-level planning committee is responsible for the development and delivery of this important event.
The Managing Information for Student Achievement (MISA) initiative is increasing both provincial and local capacity to work with data and information to support improved student outcomes. An important part of the local capacity building portion of the initiative includes supporting seven MISA Professional Network Centres (PNCs) across the province.
PNCs function as linked professional learning communities and complement the efforts of individual boards and schools. The Centres have helped boards and schools learn to manage and use data to support improved student achievement. Activities undertaken by the Centres include: promoting a healthy data culture in aid of evidence-informed decision-making; linking to the research community; and building research and evaluation capacity to inform classroom practice.
The Evaluation and Research Learning Program, or E+R (delivered through the Human Resources Branch), is made up of six modules that aim to equip ministry staff and managers with the knowledge and ability to use research and evaluation effectively for decision-making regarding policies and programs. The participants are policy and program staff.