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Is engaging in evidence-informed practice in education rational? examining the divergence between teachers’ attitudes towards evidence use and their actual instances of evidence use in schools.

Brown, C. and Zhang, D. (2016) 'Is engaging in evidence-informed practice in education rational? examining the divergence between teachers’ attitudes towards evidence use and their actual instances of evidence use in schools.', British educational research journal., 45 (5). pp. 780-801.

Abstract

Whilst beneficial, the consistent and regular use of evidence to improve teaching and learning in schools is proving difficult to achieve in practice. This paper attempts to shed new light on this issue by examining the applicability of a model of rational behaviour as it relates to the notion of evidence‐informed practice (EIP). Specifically, exploring the question: ‘if EIP is rational behavior, why aren't all teachers engaged in it?’, we examine whether the beliefs and perspectives of teachers in relation to EIP, align with their evidence‐use behaviours. We then assess what factors (if any) prevent teachers/schools who wish to engage in EIP from doing so. To examine beliefs, instances of, and barriers to evidence use, we employ a Gradient Boosted Tree predictive model to analyse data from a survey of 696 practitioners in 79 schools. Our findings suggest that, should they wish to increase EIP within their schools, school leaders need to: 1) promote the vision for evidence‐use (i.e. actively encourage its use); 2) illustrate how research and evidence can be effectively employed to enhance aspects of teaching and learning; and 3) establish effective learning environments, in which learning conversations around the use of evidence, can flourish. Simultaneously we caution that evidence use will never be fully or meaningfully realised unless school leaders prioritise EIP as a school commitment. Simultaneously, it is unlikely that such prioritisation will occur until EIP forms part of any education system's accountability regime.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3239
Publisher statement:This is the accepted version of the following article: Brown, C. & Zhang, D. (2016). Is engaging in evidence-informed practice in education rational? Examining the divergence between teachers’ attitudes towards evidence use and their actual instances of evidence use in schools. British Educational Research Journal 45(5): 780-801 which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3239. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Date accepted:11 April 2016
Date deposited:05 September 2019
Date of first online publication:08 August 2016
Date first made open access:05 September 2019

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