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A regional NSW school teacher and students

Case studies: Testing what works

Published 28th February, 2019

Rural teacher placements

The BIU worked with the NSW Department of Education to encourage more trainee teachers to take placements in rural areas.

This was done by:

  • simplifying the application process by replacing the paper-based application with a pre-filled online form
  • making the benefits of applying more prominent
  • sending a reminder before the application was due.

The BIU tested their intervention using a randomised controlled trial with trainee teachers from the University of Wollongong. They found that three times as many trainee teachers applied for rural placements as a result of the intervention.

For more information download the BIU report 2018.

Domestic violence court attendance

The BIU worked with the NSW Department of Justice to encourage domestic violence defendants to attend their court appointments.

This was done by using timely and personalised reminders, which were sent to the defendant the day before their court appearance.

The reminder was tested in five local courts and found it reduced non-attendance by 23 per cent. The BIU’s intervention also reduced the time to finalise each court case by five days on average.

For more information download the BIU report 2018.

Cervical cancer screening

The BIU worked with the Cancer Institute NSW to encourage women to make an appointment to get a Pap test. Regular Pap tests can reduce a woman’s risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer by up to 96 per cent.

This was done by trialling different variations of a letter reminding women to make an appointment. For example, one of the letters included a case study of a woman who beat cancer through early detection.

The BIU found that all four letters were more effective at encouraging women to have a Pap test than the original letter.

For more information download the BIU report 2016.

Fines repayment

The BIU worked with the Revenue NSW to encourage people to pay their fines on time. 

This was done by:

  • making the notices easier to understand
  • having clear calls to action and drawing attention to key information
  • using social norms to highlight that the majority of people comply with their obligations.

The BIU tested the new letter using a randomised controlled trial. The intervention was effective in increasing payment rates and is estimated to have led to $10 million in additional fines paid by the due date each year. It also led to an estimated 8,800 fewer vehicle registration cancellations and driving licence suspensions per year.

For more information download the BIU report 2014.

Published 28th February, 2019
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