Does the term emergent bilingual make difference to learning process?

Since I read the article by Ofelia Garcia about the importance of referring to learners of English as a foreign language as emergent bilinguals, I have been thinking if the way we call someone really makes difference or it is the way educators teach and treat the foreign language learners that matters? I can’t help thinking that the term is suggested for the sake of suggesting a new term and its benefits are exaggerated.

In her article “Emergent Bilinguals and TESOL: What’s in a name?” Ofelia Garcia, the professor at the City University of New York, claims that referring to students who speak languages other than English as English language learners or Limited English proficient students doesn’t support equity in teaching process. She argues for the term “emergent bilingual” to be more appropriate and beneficial to refer to students whose first language is not English.

The author believes that calling students emergent bilinguals refers to their potential and emphasizes positive characteristic rather than seeing bilingualism as a problem or limitation. Garcia speculates that the term emergent bilingualism would encourage teaching which is centered on students, rather than profession. She points out that looking at children through a monolingual and monoglossic lens approves educational inequities, while adopting the use of the term emergent bilingual would restore educational equity. It is believed to encourage teachers to use the children’s home language and cultural practices which would help them develop pedagogical practices. Also, focusing on the emergent bilingualism is claimed to help policy-makers to develop bilingual education programs and pedagogy by basing educational decisions for bilingual children on their strengths. Garcia concludes that using the term emergent bilingualism would benefit all the stakeholders, from students to policy makers.

So what’s in a name? Does name really matter? Or do you think “the rose by any name would smell as sweet”?


Garcia, O. (2009). Emergent Bilinguals and TESOL: What’s in a Name? TESOL Quarterly, 43(2), 322-326. Retrieved from


The power of feedback

In the time that passes between when I was a schoolgirl in high school and when I started teaching, I really see the big difference. This variance is mainly caused by educational reforms that have been adopted in recent years. Therefore I started getting interested in formative assessment as a tool to motivate students to perform better at the lessons, this raised the question in my mind;  “What is the formative assessment, and what does it do?”

I have deepened my knowledge about the usage of formative assessment and the role of feedback for the sake of my future practices at school. I am trying to sort it all out in my blog.  Formative assessment is a top-trending topic of these days among different stakeholders; it is “a process through which assessment-elicited evidence of student learning is gathered and instruction is modified in response to feedback” (Cauley & McMillan, 2010, p.1). It has been noted by many teachers that they have benefited from using feedback at the lessons. The main benefit of formative assessment is verbal feedback which teacher can give in every lesson to enable students to fulfil their potential and motivation to study further. Nevertheless, it does not always imply collaboration between students and teachers, it also describes how learners work measures up to the standard and explores the gap between current and aspired performance (Nolen, 2011; Yue., et al., 2008). In other words, when learners have definite goals, and timely feedback, they have a basis that leads them to understand their achievement; reflect on their weaknesses and strengths. In addition, it gives an opportunity to improve monitoring of the effectiveness of measures adopted on various aspects of feedback. Self-reflection will expand students’ responsibility on their academic achievements. It can be considered as a kind of teachers’ support with reminders which pushes them to action, and encouraging them to pay attention on their knowledge perception and meeting the learning objectives rather than getting grades.

There is every hope, that all teachers will use feedback as a powerful tool.  Academic achievements of students will reveal whether these indirect measures are sufficient.

Feedback concepts

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Cauley, K. M., & McMillan, J. H. (2010). Formative Assessment Techniques to Support Student Motivation and Achievement. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues And Ideas83(1), 1-6.

Nolen, S. B. (2011). The Role of Educational Systems in the Link between Formative Assessment and Motivation. Theory Into Practice50(4), 319-326.

Yue, Y., Shavelson, R. J., Ayala, C. C., Ruiz-Primo, M. A., Brandon, P. R., Furtak, E. M., & Young, D. B. (2008). On the Impact of Formative Assessment on Student Motivation, Achievement, and Conceptual Change. Applied Measurement In Education21(4), 335-359. doi:10.1080/08957340802347845

Speak Kazakh to Kazakh… or how to make the acquisition planning of Kazakh language effective?

“Speak Kazakh to Kazakh” is a quotation from the President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s speech, which was offered as one of the ways to develop the Kazakh language. Why did these words become so popular? It is because of Kazakh population who speak Russian instead of their native language. The dominance of Russian is a consequence of being colonized by Russian Empire. But 26 years have passed since Kazakhstan gained independence. Have any attempts been done to develop the Kazakh language as a native? If yes, why have not they been successful? What should be done to increase the number of Kazakh language speakers so that every Kazakh speaks his or her native language?

A lot of attention have been paid to “acquisition planning” (Cooper, 1989) of Kazakh language since the country became independent. Particularly, it can be seen in the sphere of education. The number of schools with Kazakh medium of instruction has increased; the Kazakh language has become an obligatory subject in all schools (Smagulova, 2016). Also, in the frame of trilingual policy Kazakh is supported as a native language. However, it was not productive enough to increase the number of Kazakh speakers, as this was an opportunity only for schoolchildren. As a consequence, private language centres started teaching a native language to the people of all ages. In some workplaces classes of Kazakh language are organized for workers. Moreover, people can practice a native language for free at the language centre “Tildaryn” (NUGSE, 2014). Notwithstanding all these efforts, Russian is a dominant language, and it is still spoken everywhere. That makes the issue of acquisition planning of Kazakh language troublesome for policymakers to deal with.

Here come the questions: what if the President’s suggestion will be more effective? Why not speak Kazakh to Kazakh, and start to promote the native language ourselves?

What do you think will be the most efficient way to expand the number of Kazakh language speakers?



Cooper, R. L. (1989). Language planning and social change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education (2014). Development of Strategic Directions for Education Reforms in Kazakhstan for 2015-2020, Diagnostic report. Astana: Indigo print.

Smagulova, J. (2016). The re-acquisition of Kazakh in Kazakhstan: Achievements and challenges. In Ahn, E.S. & J. Smagulova (Eds.), Language change in Central Asia (89-107). Boston/ Berlin: De Gruyter.

Peculiar view on the “mother tongue” in Kazakhstan

On the 21st day of next month world celebrates “Mother Language Day“. In the light of the intensive development of multilingualism around the country, the significance of the first language (L1) is special


few days ago during the classesone professor willing to identify language backgrounds of our cohort asked students to specify their first languageThe question that seemed to be obvious and easy to answer in the beginning became disputable at the end of an interrogationSurprisingly, the certain number of students were unable to determine their actual mother tongue or pointed out their first language from the perspective of their ethnicitiesThe point was thateven in case of extremely rare use of Kazakh language during their lifetime students were convinced that a native language should be identified on the basis of their national identitywhich literally contradicted the ordinary views on definition of a mother tongue and consequently left our professor perplexed on this matter at the end of classes.

To clarify, let’s revisit the definition of “the first language”; for instance, in Collins and Cambridge dictionaries it is referred to as a native language that has been learned first from a birth before studying a new language. Notably, there is no reference to a connection of national origin of an individual with his or her first exposed language. Then what makes our students call a language, in this case, Kazakh, which was hardly ever used and spoken in their families and during school and university life as their first language or mother tongue? The answer may be in the consideration of the value that Kazakhs attach to a meaning of the word “mother tongue” in Kazakh (“ana tili”), which is treated as a reflection of Kazakh nation’s identity, culture and historical heritage. Plenty of Kazakh prominent poets realized the significance of Kazakh language in nation’s identity and dedicated poems to the mother tongue full of patriotic love and pride. The history of the beginning of Kazakhstan’s formation as a republic, to my mind, is another important factor that affected the Kazakhstani people perception of the mother tongue. Specifically, in the 20s due to korenizatsiya (indigenization) policy, each of fifteen Soviet republics was designated as an autonomous republic with its titular language (Pavlenko, 2008). Hence, in spite of Russian being a lingua franca in Kazakh republic and the majority of the Russian-speaking population, the attainment of Kazakh language a titular status led to shaping a view of Kazakh language as part of gaining a national identity. Since then, word “mother tongue” in Kazakhstan implies a meaning of the language of own ethnicity and national origin. Years-long Kazakh language revival policy only reinforced acquired that conception. Here is an article of an Australian blogger Mabel Kwong, who shares a similar opinion on the concept of the mother tongue, but also she indicates its difference between “first language” from a perspective of an emergent bilingual.

For me “mother tongue” is a language in which my ideas and thoughts are formulated and through which I express my emotions explicitly. Thus, the idea of seeing a mother tongue as a part of nationality is obviously not something that I could agree with. What are your opinions on Kazakhs’ view on “mother tongue” conception?


Pavlenko, A. (2008). Multilingualism in Post-Soviet Countries: Language Revival, Language Removal, and Sociolinguistic Theory. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 11(3–4), 275–314.

To be or not to be trilingual

It is too obvious for words that Kazakhstan becomes more and more multilingual state because trilingual policy is, intensively, being implemented by the government. Such policy requires the knowledge of Kazakh, Russian and English languages. Due to the fact that two widely used languages are at the front of Kazakhstani language policy, it should be emphasized that such circumstance is unique in comparison with other countries. Additionally, making English as obligatory one to those two languages developes language policy to the top countries around the world.

Yes! Trilingual policy probably gives prospects for having dream job with substantial salary.

Yes! It could imbue to ameliorate academic, cognitive and social skills.

Yes! It is simply evident that such policy places people for exploration the language’s culture.

However, people need to adhere to guidelines given by the government that include improving the language level they have already known or make themselves familiar with a language they do not know. With increasing frequency, the administration triggers people to be trilingual despite the fact that, first and foremost, they should underpin people and provide them with necessary stuff for successful learning such as free trainings for people or distribution of dictionaries and phrase-books.

Learning languages demands diligent efforts and positive stance towards the language. People should be prepared for this policy because some daily but important things can be in an unfamiliar language such as watching news or reading advertisements. In terms of job places, government agencies require the knowledge of three languages these days. So, most people have a risk to lose their position at work. For this reason, some questions arise here. How to learn the language that a person has never spoken?! How to keep the heritage of the nation while learning other languages? How to get money to attend language courses if there are no free ones?! And then many how-s that do not have answers…

However, I will be for trilingual policy only in case if appropriate measures are taken for its improvement. I consider that above-mentioned issues are significant for making trilingual policy successfully equal for the entire population of Kazakhstan.

How about you? Are you in favor or against?!

Research for Beginners: Handling Participant Vulnerability

A professor would iterate that we do research to bring change by raising the voices of the unheard. Though a valid motive, it does not prevent a novice researcher from contemplating the worth of recruiting vulnerable subjects given the ethical considerations. In case there is a strong commitment to cover a topic with less protected participants, I believe one needs sufficient justification and preparation.

First and foremost, ask yourself if the benefit research subjects gain outweighs the imposed threat (Weisser-Lohmann, 2012). Ethical guidelines and requirements from supervisors possibly tie your hands either explicitly or implicitly. Yet vulnerable groups deserve accessing the advantages of research as well as shedding light on their issues (Bracken-Roche, Bell, Macdonald & Racine, 2017). Having someone armed with science and authority willing to tell your story is a substantial incentive itself. Participants whose voices were heard would also not only give courage to their peers but also set an example for the latter to follow and make more valuable contributions to research. Provided the scholar is set to benefit the individuals under the scope, it is best not to exclude them from research solely based on their vulnerability.


I am not convinced motivation to partake in data collection diminishes the harm participants may suffer unless the investigator is prepared to explore the matter ethically. Conducting procedures conscientiously necessitates “beneficence of treatment of participants, respect for participants, and justice” (Creswell, 2014, p. 36). Emerging researchers such as us would especially need to abide by the mentioned basic principles. Treating every step of our study with care and emotional investment should become a habit nurtured from the very first projects we conduct since that seems to correlate to securing study partakers from imaginable perils.

Working with the vulnerable population to fulfil one’s duty as a researcher requires additional mindfulness in terms of ethics and preparation. It is key to make sure participants will gain more than what they may lose. More than that, preparedness to proceed ethically throughout the study is a primary consideration.

What is your idea of working with vulnerable people? Would you recommend anything else to those willing to engage in such projects?



Bracken-Roche, D., Bell, E., Macdonald, M. E., & Racine, E. (2017). The concept of ‘vulnerability’ in research ethics: an in-depth analysis of policies and guidelines. Health Research Policy and Systems, 15(8), 1-18.

Creswell, J. (2014). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research: International edition (4th ed.), Ch. 1. Electronic Package. Boston: Pearson.

Weisser-Lohmann, E. (2012). Ethical aspects of vulnerability in research. Poiesis Prax, 9, 157–162.

Ungraded schools need to be heard

Equity in education is a matter that has always been widely examined, discussed and debated. One might consider that equity means granting every child a school place; however, there is a way more to this. Equity allows every kid to obtain quality education regardless of student background, his/her skills, parents’ wallet thickness or any other factor. This piece of writing discusses equity challenges faced by rural ungraded schools, the issues bothering me for a while.

Ungraded school (UGS) might be defined as a comprehensive school with a low number of learners per class that results in the establishment of joint grades, where students from different grades study in one classroom, and special ways of teaching (Irsaliyev et al., 2015). In Kazakhstan those schools take around 50 % of total number with only around 10 % of students studying there (Irsaliyev et al., 2015). Due to the lack of teaching staff, teachers are forced to teach multiple subjects, with only 82% of them having Higher Education degree (Irsaliyev et al., 2015). To add to the pile, ungraded schools suffer from inadequate infrastructure and devastatingly low ICT support. Therefore, a great majority of students of UGS get lower scores in national and international exams compared to other students (OECD, 2014). For instance, generally UGS students are observed to get 10 points less in unified national testing (UNT) than in urban comprehensive schools (OECD, 2014). Thus, equity is firmly positioned under a great threat, unless certain measures are taken to change the situation.

On the bright side, there are number of innovations related to the system of ungraded schools. The main changes include the establishment of a Republican Centre for the Development of Ungraded schools and Resource centers (OECD, 2014). While the first one deals with teacher development and methodological support, the main aims of the second one incorporate conducting training session and distance learning courses for students. Next, to decrease a number of drop-outs students who live in distant areas are provided with free transportation. Some might consider that something is better than nothing; however, the reforms mentioned above are just a temporary remedy, which do not eliminate the issue itself. For instance, teacher and student trainings do not decrease the number of ungraded schools, or offer substantial support since both are hold several times per academic year. The same is true for free transportation. Therefore, inequity between UGS students and other students remains and to reinforce equity more fundamental changes are necessary.

So, here is the question I am asking you to consider: what actions might be taken to effectively solve equity challenges of ungraded schools?


OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). (2014). Secondary education in Kazakhstan: reviews of national policies for education. Paris: OECD Publishing.

Irsaliyev, S., Kultumanova, A., Tulekov, E., Kussidenova, G., Iskakov, B., Zabara, L., & Korotkikh, Y. (2015). National report on the state and development of educational system of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Astana: JSC, Informational Analytical Center of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

I support trilingual policy

   Trilingualism has recently become one of the most discussed topics in Kazakhstan. While some people support this initiative convincing how beneficial it will be, others are against referring to drawbacks. Nevertheless, the implementation has already started. Almost everything and everyone is gradually changing to be trilingual. This influenced me as well, and I support it.
Our society is alarmed by low status and acquisition level of the Kazakh language. That is quite reasonable. It is not a secret Russian is the dominant language in Kazakhstan. It is everywhere: in the streets, shopping centers, public transport, even at schools and family dinners. It would be inappropriate to deny its significance and a rather high position compared with other two languages. Still, the number of people getting interested in English is growing day by day. It seems to me that even in trilingual education the English language is more focused on. Therefore, a number of Kazakh language promoting events are being executed.
The range of measures being carried out all over Kazakhstan is quite impressive. People must have noticed the increased number of TV programmes and shows in Kazakh. As a person who is fond of listening to music, I have to point out that there are various radio stations and Gakku, the music channel, which broadcast predominantly Kazakh songs. The government organizes free Kazakh concerts in both urban and rural areas, that gather youth of all ages and ethnicities. Employers require sufficient level of the Kazakh language knowledge when hiring workers or send their employees to linguistic centers. We cannot deny the influence of all these movements on our younger generation. They see how it is beneficial to know and, especially, speak the state language. It goes without saying that the Russian language will still play important role in our community. However, its function seems to become a little bit narrower because of the increasing significance of the Kazakh and English languages in the society.
I believe being trilingual shouldn’t be regarded as just being able to speak three languages, there is so much more beyond it. It will help us to foster intellectually developed tolerant individuals. And we know how the sense of tolerance is essential to keep the peace and prosperity of the country. By raising the awareness of the languages, we transfer the knowledge about the culture of that ethnicity. Children will learn how to communicate with representatives of other cultures. That, in its turn, will elevate their social status, the manner of interaction, level of flexibility.
No one can guarantee that the transformation will always be met with open arms and, to be realistic, it will never be. However, I assume that support to be highly significant for a success of any initiative. The assistance of the society is anticipated when the change is done for its sake. It would be more helpful if society didn’t just reveal the flaws but tried to find the ways to “fix” them.

Review of the article “The Relevance of Evidence-Based Policy Making (EBPM) in Public Management”


This blog post is the review of the article “The Relevance of Evidence-Based Policy Making (EBPM) in Public Management” by Joseph Tham. The blog post analyses the article’s structure, information is given in it, and content as well as it gives examples from the policy-making process in the Kazakhstani context in order to clarify the relevance of arguments given in the article.

Этот блог является обзором статьи «Актуальность разработки политики на основе фактических данных (EBPM) в общественном управлении» написанный Джозефа Тамом. В блоге анализируется структура статьи и содержание, а также приводятся примеры из процесса разработки политики в казахстанском контексте, чтобы прояснить значимость аргументов, приведенных в статье.

Бұл блог Джозеф Тэмам жазған «Мемлекеттік басқаруда EBPM-тың өзектілігі»  мақаласына шолу болып табылады. Блогта мақаланың құрылымы мен мазмұны талқыланған, сондай-ақ мақалада келтірілген дәлелдердің маңыздылығын түсіндіру үшін Қазақстан контекстіндегі саясатты әзірлеу үдерісінен мысалдар келтірілген.


The article “The Relevance of Evidence-Based Policy Making (EBPM) in Public Management” by Joseph Tham is the review of the usage of Evidence-Based Policy Making (EBPM) in policy-making process in three different countries including the USA, the UK, and Australia.  In general, the article analyzes the effectiveness of using EBPM, the implication for public management as well as various views towards it in these three countries.

Overall, the article is well-structured and easy to follow. It contains several chapters devoted to the particular theme. On the one hand, it makes it clear and structured but on the other hand, it looks like the simple list of ideas without analyses and synthesis.  For instance, the usage of EBPM in three countries is written separately in three paragraphs and it will be better to add one more paragraph in which the author analyzes the situation in these three countries by comparing and contrasting evidence and comes to the consensus.

One more idea for improving the article is connected with the last paragraph which is devoted to the situation in Kazakhstan. In the Kazakhstani context, EBPM is a new phenomenon and is not used widely in the policy-making process. Therefore, it is clear that there is the shortage of evidence related to the EBPM and as the result; the author wrote a short review by using available information. Moreover, the author gives some recommendations for the implementation of EBPM in Kazakhstani context. As it was mentioned above, it will be better to give a more practical recommendation based on the experiences mentioned above three countries highlighting strong and weak sides in the usage of EBPM in the policymaking.

As a part of governmental institutions, the education system is considered to be one of the important sectors which formulate the frameworks for all levels of society. Therefore, the usage of EBPM in the education system is important in order to make educational policies more effective and successful. Unfortunately, many policies in the education system fail because of the several reasons. One of the main reasons is connected with the shortage of evidence and the luck of pre-preparation in the implementation process. For example, in the Kazakhstani context, one of the reforms initiated by the MoES is e-learning project is criticized widely.  E-learning is a large-scale state project included in the State Program of Development of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011 – 2020 years. Its main goal of the project is to ensure equal access for all participants in the educational process to the best educational resources and technologies. Initially, the implementation of E-learning in the education system was divided into two parts. The first part of the programme contains 2011- 2015. However, according to the statistics of the national website of e-learning in Kazakhstan, the first part of the project did not reach intended indicators and there was a mismatch between target numbers and real situation. In addition, Kenzhebayev and Dalayeva (2014) state that some teacher of schools where e-learning system was introduced faced with challenges such as double filling the documentation: the electronic journals and the school journals. From this example, it can be seen that the mistakes made at the beginning of the projects had an impact on the whole implementation process. Therefore, it is important also use EBPM in the policy-making process in the education system. Moreover, the analyses of situation before the implementation of the policy can help avoid possible challenges or show if it works or not.

In conclusion, overall, the article is clear and informative since it gives important information about EBPM in several contexts. However, these are some points which need further development such as the comparison and synthesis of situations in the different context and giving more practical recommendations and coming to one conclusion after the review of all contexts. In general, the problem raised in the article can be applied and is relevant to the education system too since the policy-making process in the education system also needs EBPM in order to make it more effective.





MoES, (2012). Concept of e-learning in Kazakhstan’s education system: the first results, its introduction into the education system. Retrieved from:

Кenzhebayev, G., Baidildina, S., Dalayeva, T. (2012). Problems of development of e-Learning content in historical education on the republic of Kazakhstan. International Perspectives on Education. BCES Conference Books. Vol.10. Retrieved from


Is Evidence Making a Policy?

Abstract: This post is a critical review of the article by Joseph Tham “The relevance of evidence-based policy making (EBPM) in public management” (2017) where I suggest some possible areas for improvement and include educational researchers’ position to EBPM approach.

Абстракт: Эта публикация представляет собой критический обзор статьи Джозефа Тама «Актуальность разработки политики на основе фактических данных в государственном управлении» (2017), где я предлагаю некоторые области для совершенствования и взгляд на данный подход со стороны исследователей образования.

Абстракт: Бұл басылым Джозеф Там жазған “Мемлекет басқармасындағы нақты мәліметтерге негізделген саясатты әзірлеудің өзектілігі” (2017) атты мақаланың сынап талдауы боп табылады. Осы жарияланымда мен жетілдіруді қажет ететін салаларды әрі берілген тәсілге білім саласының зерттеушілерінің көзқарасын ұсынамын.

“No one can doubt that basing your predictions about policy effectiveness on evidence is a good idea”

(Cartwright & Hardie, 2012, p.53)

The author reviews the ideas about evidence-based policy making in the US, the UK, and Australia; touches upon some challenges of its implementation and presents the implications for public management. At the end, he gives the quick overview of the situation in Kazakhstan. According to Tham (2017) despite the fact that EBPM has a substantial number of proponents among governors and policy makers in the number of countries, its slow effect and difficulty in identifying quality evidence undermine its credibility.

In the review, I argue that ideas lack analysis and connection between them. The author uses a variety of sources such as government reports, conference proceedings, books, presidential addresses, organization websites and others to support his ideas but the quotes fail to achieve their rhetorical purpose and convince the readers. Here is an excerpt from the text:

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has clear guidelines on
performance measurement, and outcome evaluation. In a 2011 document titled
Performance Measurement, the GAO says that outcome evaluation:

“assesses the extent to which a program achieves its outcome-
oriented objectives. It focuses on outputs and outcomes
(including unintended effects) to judge program effectiveness
but may also assess program process to understand how
outcomes are produced.”

The Brookings Institution, a private think-tank has issued a recent report that
calls on ‘Strengthening Results-focused Government.’:

“It would help strengthen Americans’ confidence that their
government is able to effectively and efficiently tackle the
challenges we face as a nation.” (Page 1, Feldman Strengthening
Results-focused government)

The ideas are just introduced but not discussed and consequently, the coherence is lacking. One idea jumps into another. As a reader, I am wondering how is the existence of efficiency measurements linked to Americans’ trust in their authorities? More analysis of the quotes would lead me to the better understanding of the author’s goal. The conclusion also does not bring the whole paper together and only characterizes the US case leaving the discussion about other countries, challenges, and recommendations without any attention. I would like to see how the cases are interdependent and how Kazakhstani case is different from them.

Which of the implications should be taken into account in the Kazakhstani context? In this part, I would like to compare Tham’s ideas about EBPM in public management with the use of evidence in the educational field on the example of State Program for Education Development. Tham (2017) states that with the “support of the demand for evidence,  and support for the generation of research evidence, EBPM will be strengthened and widely used [in Kazakhstan]” (Tham, 2017, p. 12). However, no parallels were drawn with existing literature on the situation in the US, the UK, and Australia.

Moreover, when it comes to policy-making in the educational field, Bridges and Watts (2009) report about “the failure of policy-makers to take research findings properly into account” (p. 37). Ironically, they cite a number of research studies from Australia, UK, and the US which demonstrate that even solid evidence plays a minor role in changing practitioners or policy-makers decisions (Bridges & Watts, 2009). So even if the research evidence is generated, it is simply ignored because it is problematic to identify what should be counted relevant evidence in a particular context. According to Kettl (2017), in the UK case, the evidence is “facts, figures, ideas, analysis and research” (as cited in Tham, p.8).  This kind of data is already required from the policy makers in Kazakhstan when developing a policy. For example, the State Program of Educational Development in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020 (MoES, 2010), which is the foundational program for all the education initiatives, has a special section “Analysis of the current situation” where all the facts and figures on the progress of a program or necessity for its implementation are described. No state program can be developed without “the demand for evidence” (Tham, 2017, p.12). Policy makers rely on think-tanks, experts, commissions, media but “academic research on social issues, including education, sits at the bottom of the list of resources” (Bridges & Watts, 2009, p.37).

Evidence-based policy making is a complicated process because even the essential part of it – the evidence is hardly generalizable. What worked in Western countries may not necessarily work in Kazakhstan, and even the kind of relevant evidence varies from department to department. In this post, I used the article on evidence-based policy to look at some aspects of policy making in education. However, it would be easier to follow the author’s way of thinking if he commented more on the way he interprets some quotations and made more conclusions for the reader on their connection.


Bridges, D., & Watts, M. (2009). Educational research and policy: Epistemological considerations. In D. Bridges, P. Smeyers & R. Smith (Eds.), Evidence-based education policy (36-57). United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell

Cartwright, N.,& Hardie, J. (2012). Evidence-based policy: A practical guide to doing it better. NY: Oxford University Press

Tham, J. (2017). The relevance of evidence-based policy making (EBPM) in public management. Unpublished manuscript, the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Astana, Kazakhstan

Kettl, D. et al. 2017. No time to wait: building a public service for the 21 st century, National Academy of Public Administration.

MoES. (Ministry of Education and Science). (2010, December 7). State Program of Education Development in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020. Retrieved from