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About TIER

The aim of the Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research is to conduct excellent scientific research and to put the results of this research at the services of (and make usable for) educational practice and educational policy. TIER wants to develop knowledge of 'evidence based education' that can be made use of by: 1) the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in policy preparation and evaluation; 2) the educational practice - such as educational institutions - in the allocation of means and in decision making when choosing between educational theories; 3) parents and students when choosing a school or training.

Within TIER 'evidence based education' will be developed along several lines:

  • Research on cost effectiveness will be carried out;
  • Reviews and meta-analyses of the cost effectiveness of interventions will be carried out;
  • The quality and usability of existing research will be evaluated;
  • The results of the aforementioned research will be presented, made available and accessible; and the dissemination of the results will be attended to;
  • The knowledge and the position with regard to 'evidence based education' within the world of education will be enhanced.

TIER focuses on four areas of attention:

  • The development of effective education interventions and the evaluation of education interventions by (experimental) research with the aim of arriving at 'evidence based education' in policy and practice;
  • The examination of the social context of education, an examination in which the social perspective of education will be central and a connection will be made between education and the labor market;
  • Being a link between the academic world of research and the policy world of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science by way of meta-analyses, review-studies and the dissemination of knowledge to stakeholders like schools, parents and government;
  • A Teacher Academy, in consultation with people in the field, to make sure that the scientific results of the research 'evidence based education' will be passed on to teachers in primary, secondary and higher education.

Within each area of attention several themes are to be distinguished. The four areas of attention cover the whole field of lifelong learning, i.e. from pre-schooling, primary, secondary, higher education and professional training to further schooling and education.

The areas of attention are connected to the existing educational order on the level of legislation, the giving of rules, the administrative and financial relations between government and educational institutions, educators and educated, as well as on the level of the didactics and organization of the education within institutions.

The organizational structure

TIER was founded as an inter-university scientific research institute with partners at Maastricht University, University of Amsterdam and University of Groningen. Between 2008 and 2014 all three universities were involved in TIER-research and collaborated with one another. After the initial funds had ended, TIER Maastricht further developed as the main TIER department, still with close tiers to the University of Amsterdam and with a new partner: the institute LEER at Leuven University.

International cooperation

Institutes with a comparable focal point as TIER are to be found in the Anglo-Saxon world. The CEM Centre in the UK and the WWC (What Works Clearinghouse) in the United States are to be named. With these institutions will be cooperated. There is also intensive contact with Colombia University in the US, where similar research is conducted on the cost effectiveness of education, and educational evaluations are carried out. With the John Hopkins University in Baltimore there is exchange on the use of Randomized Controlled Controls when evaluating educational interventions. Other relevant foreign contacts are: the Centre for Economics of Education (CEE) in London, the Education Research Section in Princeton and the European Expert Network of Economics of Education (EENEE).

Evidence Based Education

'Evidence based education' is the philosophy that educational policy and educational practice are to be based on the best evidence of 'what works'. This means that specific educational interventions, educational strategies and educational policies are to be evaluated scientifically before they are recommended or adopted on a large scale. Where this has not happened yet, these interventions are to be introduced on an experimental basis in such a way that the effects of the interventions can be evaluated scientifically. On the one hand 'evidence based education' refers to the collection of positively evaluated interventions, on the other hand it refers to the comportment or attitude of policy makers and people from the educational practice (working on the basis of 'evidence based education').