What works best in practice

This paper was originally published 24 April 2020.

Image: What works best in practice


What works best in practice supports teachers to implement the evidence-based themes outlined in What works best 2020 update. It provides strategies and case studies against eight key teaching practices that are known to improve student outcomes.

The eight themes are:

  • High expectations
  • Explicit teaching
  • Effective feedback
  • Use of data to inform practice
  • Student assessment
  • Classroom management
  • Wellbeing
  • Collaboration.

The themes provide a useful framework for teachers to ensure their practices in the classroom align with the evidence. The strategies in the document are a great starting point for practical implementation and the case studies provide some examples about how other schools have approached these practices. As always, it is important to consider the strategies within the unique context of your own classroom and school environment.

Purpose of resource

The What works best in practice resource supports teachers to implement the evidence-based themes outlined in the What works best: 2020 update. It provides strategies and short case studies against 8 quality teaching practices that are known to improve student outcomes.

When and how to use

The resource is a practical guide, and is accompanied by the What works best: 2020 update and a suite of other What works best resources. School leaders and teachers can read, reflect on, discuss and implement themes and strategies highlighted in the practical guide as part of school-developed High Impact Professional Learning (HIPL).

The appropriate time to use this resource may differ for each school, leader and teacher.

School leaders can:

  • unpack the practical resource as part of whole-school professional development and/or stage or grade team meetings
  • encourage teachers to share key findings during professional development
  • reflect on strategies, policies or practices currently in place to support school improvement and lift student learning outcomes
  • access their school’s What works best Scout report to facilitate discussions with staff about areas for improvement at a classroom and whole-school level
  • support staff to find connections between What works best and the School Excellence Framework
  • display the What works best: 2020 update poster and What works best shareable summary tiles
  • provide parents and carers with a copy of the What works best guide for parents and carers to support effective teaching practices at home.

Teachers can:

  • read the practical resource and reflect on current practice using the What works best toolkit
  • complete the What works best in practice MyPL course to connect their understanding of the educational research with their own context
  • identify practices in the practical resource to implement in the classroom
  • reflect on the impact of implementation.


Email feedback about this resource to info@cese.nsw.gov.au using subject line ‘Re: What works best in practice’. You can also subscribe to the CESE newsletter and connect with us on Yammer.

Alignment to system priorities and/or needs: NSW Department of Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022: ‘Every student is engaged and challenged to continue to learn, and every student, every teacher, every leader and every school improves every year’.

Alignment to School Excellence Framework: Learning domain – learning culture, wellbeing, assessment, reporting, student performance measures.

Teaching domain – effective classroom practice, data skills and use, professional standards, learning and development.

Leading domain – educational leadership; school planning, implementation and reporting.

Alignment with other existing frameworks: What works best.

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers:

Professional knowledge: Standards 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6.

Professional practice: Standards 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4.

Professional engagement: Standards 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 7.1, 7.3, 7.4.

Reviewed by: School Services; Leadership and High Performance; Teaching and Learning; directors, educational leadership (under the 2020 departmental structure).

Created/last updated: Originally published 24 April 2020.

To be reviewed: CESE publications are prepared through a rigorous process. Resources are reviewed periodically as part of an ongoing evaluation plan.

Related resources


  • Practical guides for educators

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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