Literature review into evidence based practices

We commissioned research to better understand which education supports are most effective for students with disability.

The department engaged UNSW to review literature to find evidence-based practices that are proven by high-quality research to improve outcomes for students with disability.

The research delivers on Disability Strategy commitment 4.2 ‘Invest in new research to identify the practices that support the best learning outcomes’.

Key findings

The review found there are a range of evidence-based practices that are proven to achieve outcomes for students with disability.

There are 44 educational practices that are recognised as evidence-based in international literature over the last ten years. The review analysed sixteen of the most commonly studied practices and grouped them into six categories.

  • Visual and video supports
  • Peer-mediated instruction
  • Systematic instruction
  • Self-management
  • Prompting
  • Time delay.

These practices can be used in diverse environments and with diverse populations of students with disability to assist them to achieve academic, social, emotional, self-determination and life skills outcomes.

However, there was no comprehensive evidence across all studies about the relationship between a practice and its outcomes. This means we can’t draw definitive conclusions about what works for a range of students with disability across the board.

The review recognised the need for evidence-based practices to be used in a personalised learning approach that assesses an individual student’s strengths and needs.


The review involved:

  • Identifying international research on evidence-based practices and interventions that teachers and other school staff use with a student at school.
  • Identifying evidence-based practices researched in Australia to support the full range of students with disability across diverse settings.

The researchers also reviewed NSW and Australian legislation, policy, strategy and practice guidance to explore how evidence-based practices could be used to achieve the best outcomes for students with disability.

Next steps

We are currently exploring how we use the findings of the literature review to continue to connect teachers and other school staff with evidence-based practices and resources that support the learning and wellbeing of students with disability.

More information

Read the report: A review and synthesis of educational supports for students with disability: Evidence-based practices in Australia.

Read the easy read: Supporting students with disability: what we learned from our research.

Find out more about other ways we are building the evidence based through research.


  • Diversity and inclusion

Business Unit:

  • Inclusion and Wellbeing
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