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Evidence-Informed Practice in Denmark

Lars Qvortrup (Aarhus University, Denmark)

The Emerald Handbook of Evidence-Informed Practice in Education

ISBN: 978-1-80043-142-3, eISBN: 978-1-80043-141-6

Publication date: 31 January 2022


The idea of Evidence-Informed Practice (EIP) was introduced in Denmark at a national policy level with the 2013 national school reform. After 10 years of gradual development towards an output-oriented, accountability-based school system, the school reform fully realized the idea of a school system, which was oriented towards learning objectives and based on capacity building and supporting professional capital. One element of professional capital was EIP, and this idea was supported financially both by the parliament and large private foundations (e.g. the Maersk Foundation). However, for different reasons, the national reform created a lot of resistance among teachers and the national teacher union, including a number of pedagogical researchers. Partly, the reform was underfunded, and partly it represented a qualitative change from understanding teaching as craft to observing it as a rational, research-informed professional practice. The result was that EIP was met with scepticism among many teachers. After 6–7 years of EIP development, the current status is that one can identify a small, yet statistical significant positive correlation between teachers' professional, evidence-informed collaboration, and their job satisfaction. However, there have been no significant changes to student achievement, well-being and teaching experiences. Part of the explanation seems to be that EIP has been introduced with a combination of high social regulation and low social cohesion, pointing towards a fatalist system approach. However, this is not an expression of an intentional approach, but rather the result of a lack of teacher acceptance. One important reason for this was that the reform was underfunded. Consequently, it was combined with a labour market conflict followed by an increase of teachers hours without an increase of salary. This resulted in a legitimation crisis, which negatively influenced the teachers' acceptance of the school reform, including the idea of EIP.



Qvortrup, L. (2022), "Evidence-Informed Practice in Denmark", Brown, C. and Malin, J.R. (Ed.) The Emerald Handbook of Evidence-Informed Practice in Education, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 167-174.



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Copyright © 2022 Lars Qvortrup. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited