Improving Districts in the California Context

Reading List: Using Evidence to Inform Practice

Using Evidence to Inform Practice (Session IV)

In this section, we provide two articles that discuss the use of evidence, including research and data, in decision-making and improvement efforts at the district level.

**Coburn, C., Honig, M., & Stein, M.K. (2005). What’s the evidence on districts’ use of evidence? A chapter prepared for the conference volume sponsored by the MacArthur Network on Teaching and Learning and edited by J. Bransford, D. Lam, and L. Gomez. Not available online.

Coburn, et al. provide a comprehensive review of the literature on districts’ use of evidence and outline the complexities and politics associated with obtaining, accessing, interpreting, and using evidence in decision making processes. The authors provide five lessons for enhancing the use of evidence by district central offices.

Corcoran, T. (2003). The Use of Research Evidence in Instructional Improvement. CPRE Policy Brief. Philadelphia, PA: Consortium for Policy Research in Education. Available at

This brief examines findings on the use of evidence in decision-making in three urban districts across three states. The author describes challenges these districts faced in using evidence, including limitations in research and school staffs’ reliance on philosophy rather than evidence in making decisions. Next steps for the research community and districts are outlined.

**This document is considered a priority reading.