Design for evidence-based improvement. What methodology?


  • Antonio Calvani
  • Antonio Marzano



Learning improvement; Didactics, Evidence-based education; Design research; Primary school.


The main aspiration of educational research has always included being able to improve
achievement on a large scale through effective and sustainable approaches. However,
history shows how this goal remained largely unattainable and, in more recent times,
widely and intentionally abandoned.This work presents an orientation towards educational
planning which tries to demonstrate how new opportunities exist today to overcome
this gap integrating the experimental tradition with the capitalization of
evidence-based knowledge allowed by the support of network technologies. In support
of this, it describes an example relating to the development of reading comprehensions
in primary schools to show how educational research should proceed in this new direction.


Bell, M. (2019). The Emerging Consensus, The Learning Scientist. (ver. 01.03. - 2020).

Bloom, B. S. (1966). Twenty-five years of educational research. American Educational Research Journal, 3(3): 211-221.

Brown, A. L., & Palincsar, A. S. (1982). Inducing strategy learning from text by means of informed, self-control training, Technical Report n. 262. Champaign (IL): University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Brown, A. L. (1992). Design experiments: Theoretical and methodological challenges in creating complex interventions. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2: 141-178.

Bryk, A. S. (2015). Accelerating how we learn to improve. Educational Researcher, 44(9): 467-477.

Calvani, A., & Trinchero R. (2019). Dieci falsi miti e dieci regole per insegnare bene. Roma: Carocci.

Calvani, A. (2013). Per un’istruzione evidence based. Trento: Erikson.

Calvani, A. (2019a). Presentazione della ricerca. In A. Calvani & L. Chiappetta

Cajola (Eds.), Strategie efficaci per la comprensione del testo. Il Reciprocal Teaching (pp. 155-180). Firenze: S.Ap.I.E.

Calvani, A., Bonaiuti, G., Menichetti, L., & Vivanet, G. (2017). Le tecnologie educative. Criteri per una scelta basata su evidenze. Roma: Carocci.

Calvani, A., & Chiappetta Cajola, L. (Eds.) (2019). Strategie efficaci per la comprensione del testo. Il Reciprocal Teaching. Firenze: S.Ap.I.E.

Calvani, A., & Marzano, A. (2019). Ricerca informata da evidenze e piani di miglioramento delle scuole. Un’integrazione indispensabile. In G. Domenici & V. Biasi (Eds.), Atteggiamento scientifico e formazione dei docenti, (pp. 92-103). Milano: FrancoAngeli.

Collins, A. (1992). Toward a design science of education. In E. Scanlon, T. O’Shea (Eds.), New directions in educational technology. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Collins, A., Joseph, D., & Bielaczyc, K. (2004). Design Research: Theoretical and Methodological Issues. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1): 15-42. DOI: 10.1207/s15327809jls1301_2.

Cardarello, R., & Pintus, A. (2019). La comprensione del testo nella scuola italiana: un bilancio storico e critico. In A. Calvani & L. Chiappetta Cajola (Eds.), Strategie efficaci per la comprensione del testo. Il Reciprocal Teaching (pp. 47-75). Firenze: S.Ap.I.E.

Commissione Europea (2016). New Skills Agenda for Europe. (ver. 01.03.2020).

Davies, P. (1999), What is evidence-based education? British Journal of Educational Studies, 47(2): 108-121.

Davis, D. S. (2013). Multiple comprehension strategies instruction in the intermediate grades: three remarks about content and pedagogy in the intervention literature. Review of Education, 1(2): 194-224.

De Landsheere, G. (1970). Introduzione alla ricerca in educazione. Firenze: La Nuova Italia.

De Landsheere, G. (1986). La recherche en éducation dans le monde. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Dewey, J. (1929). The sources of a science of education. New York: Horace Liveright.

Fishman, B. J., Penuel, W. R., Allen, A.R., Cheng, B. H., & Sabelli, N. (2013). Design-based implementation research: An emerging model for transforming the relationship of research and practice. In Fishman, B. J., & Penuel, W. R. (Eds.), National Society for the Study of Education (pp.136-156). New York, NY: Teachers College Record.

Hargreaves, D. (1996). Teaching as a Research-Based Profession: Possibilities and Prospects. London: Teacher Training Agency.

Harris, T. L., & Hodges, R. E. (1995). The literacy dictionary: The vocabulary of reading and writing. Newark (DE): International Reading Association.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analysis relating to achievement. London-New York: Routledge.

Hattie, J. (2011). Which strategies best enhance teaching and learning in higher education? In D. Mashek & E. Hammer (Eds.), Empirical research in teaching and learning: Contributions from social psychology (pp. 130-142). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Higgins, S., Katsipataki, M., Villanueva-Aguilera, A. B., Coleman, R., Henderson, P., Major, L. E., Coe, R., & Mason, D. (2016). The Sutton Trust - Education Endowment Foundation teaching and learning toolkit’ manual. London: Education Endowment Foundation.

Invalsi (2019). Rapporto nazionale. Rapporto prove INValSI 2019. (ver. 01.03.2020).

Lewis, C. (2015). What Is Improvement Science? Do We Need It in Education? Educational Researcher, 44(1), 54-61, DOI: 10.3102/0013 189X -15570388.

Manifesto S.Ap.I.E. (ultimo aggiornamento: 09/06/2017). uploads/2020/01/Manifesto-SApIE 09062017.pdf (ver. 01.03. -2020).

Marzano, A. (2019). Formazione per il cambiamento della scuola. Piani di miglioramento, azione e riflessione: un circolo teorico-pratico da ricomporre. In A. Calvani & L. Chiappetta Cajola (Eds.), Strategie efficaci per la comprensione del testo. Il Reciprocal Teaching (pp. 127-151). Firenze: S.Ap.I.E.

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(3): 43-59.

Merrill, M. D. (2006a). First principles of instruction: A synthesis. In R. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and issues in instructional design and technology (2nd ed., pp. 2-71). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Merrill, M. D. (2006b). Levels of instructional strategy. Education Technology, 46(4): 5-10.

Morris, S. B. (2008). Estimating Effect Sizes From Pretest-Posttest-Control Group Designs. Organizational Research Methods, 11(2): 364-386. DOI:10.1177/1094428106291059.

NICHD, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. https://w w w. - (ver. 29.03.2020).

OECD (2016). PISA 2015 Results (Vol. I): Excellence and Equity in Education, PISA. Paris: OECD Publishing. https://www.oecd-ilib rary. org/ -education/pisa-2015-results-volume-i_9789264266490-en (ver. 01.03. -2020).

Palincsar, A. S. (2013). Reciprocal Teaching. In J. Hattie, E. M. Anderman (Eds.), International guide to student achievement (pp. 369-371). London, New York: Routledge.

Palincsar, A. S., & Brown, A. L. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition and instruction, 1(2): 117-175.

Pellegrini, M. (2019). L’efficacia delle strategie didattiche per la comprensione del testo. In A. Calvani & L. Chiappetta Cajola (Eds.), Strategie efficaci per la comprensione del testo. Il Reciprocal Teaching (pp. 77-98). Firenze: S.Ap.I.E.

Pellegrini, M., & Vivanet, G. (2018). Sintesi di ricerca in educazione. Basi teoriche e metodologiche. Roma: Carocci.

Pellegrini, M., Vivanet, G., & Trinchero, R. (2018). Gli indici di Effect Size nella ricerca educativa. Analisi comparativa e significativita pratica. Journal of Education Cultural and Psychological Studies Journal, 18: 275-308.

Rizzo, A. L., Montesano, L., & Traversetti, M. (2020). Come potenziare la comprensione del testo. Il programma Reading Comprehension-Reciprocal Teaching (RC-RT). In corso di stampa.

Slavin, R. E. (1986). Best evidence synthesis: An alternative to meta-analytic and traditional reviews. Educational researcher, 15(9): 5-11.

Slavin, R.E. (1995). Best evidence synthesis: An intelligent alternative to meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 48(1): 9-18.

Slavin, R. E. (2008) What Works? Issues in Synthesizing Educational Program Evaluations. Educational Researcher, 37(1): 5-14.

Visalberghi, A. (1951). John Dewey. Firenze: La Nuova Italia.

Visalberghi, A. (1965). I problemi della ricerca pedagogica. Firenze: La Nuova Italia.

Visalberghi, A. (1975). Sperimentazione e verifica in campo didattico. In M. Corda Costa, B. Vertecchi, & A. Visalberghi, Orientamenti per la sperimentazione didattica. Torino: Loescher.

Visalberghi, A. (1978). Pedagogia e scienze dell’educazione. Milano: Mondadori.

Vivanet, G. (2014). Che cos’e Evidence Based Education. Roma: Carocci.

Whitehurst, G. J. (2002). Evidence-based education. Statement of G. J. Whitehurst during the Student Achievement and School Accountability Conference,U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC. https :/ / methods/whatworks/eb/edlite-index.html(ver. 01.03.2020).