A rational approach to evidence-based decision making in education policy

28th January 2019 : 17:00 - 18:30

Category: Public Seminar

Speaker: Matthew Jukes (Fellow & Senior Education Evaluation Specialist RTI International)

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Room A

Convener: Maia Chankseliani

In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. Join us as we mark our 100th anniversary through a series of public events that reflect on our past and pay particular tribute to our contributions in the field of teacher education today.

Our public seminar programmes are free to attend and open to all. The aim is to encourage public engagement with those interested in the field of education.  All seminars are convened by members of the department and include a wealth of academics from across the department and wider University, as well as internationally recognised professionals from across the globe.

Registration is required.


If education policy-making is based strictly on rigorous evidence there is a risk of bias towards simple, discrete, measurable interventions. We present a framework for considering inconclusive evidence – through systematic consideration of the estimated costs, benefits and potential harm of a policy, along with the uncertainty in those estimates. This allows for a rational approach to pursuing or testing policies lacking rigorous evidence. The framework also suggests research methodologies to improve the rigour of evidence for interventions that are complex or highly context-dependent. The aim is to make evidence-based decision making more widely applicable and more effective.


Matthew Jukes has two decades of academic and professional experience in evaluating international education projects, particularly in early-grade literacy interventions and the promotion of learning through better health.

Dr Jukes’ current research addresses culturally relevant approaches to assessment of social and emotional competencies in Tanzania; improving pedagogy through an understanding of the cultural basis of teacher-child interactions; frameworks to improve evidence-based decision-making; and methods to set reading proficiency benchmarks.

Previous roles include Senior Director of Global Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at Room to Read and Associate Professor of International Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


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