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Evidence-Informed Practice in Massachusetts (USA): A Systems-level Analysis

Joel R. Malin (Miami University, USA)
Kendra Winner (Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, USA)

The Emerald Handbook of Evidence-Informed Practice in Education

ISBN: 978-1-80043-142-3, eISBN: 978-1-80043-141-6

Publication date: 31 January 2022


This chapter examines Massachusetts (USA) public primary and secondary educators' use of evidence-informed practices (EIPs). We pay special attention to the role of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in this regard while employing the dual analytical frame laid out in this handbook's introduction. The first section provides relevant background/context and tentatively classifies the system according to the matrix. The next sections describe educators' use of evidence, and provide context, insights, and analyses in relation to the patterns presented. We note how certain forms of data are routinely being used (and describe DESE's role in facilitating and shaping such use), and we describe some bottom-up (and DESE-supported) research that is occurring within districts. Applying institutional analysis to this case, EIP in Massachusetts is skewed top-down in important ways, but there is also recognition of, and some earnest efforts also/instead to promote, more bottom-up EIP in and across Massachusetts schools and educational organizations. Overall, we advance this case as providing an example of a robust infrastructure at the macrolevel (DESE) that can facilitate and shape EIP, and especially in relation to providing relevant and timely data and supporting its use by educators. Accordingly, our final section focuses on how/why DESE has been successful in these endeavors, as a way of drawing out key lessons. This chapter also includes an appendix containing links to a variety of tools, reports, and resources, which may be of interest to readers interested in further exploring or applying similar approaches.



Malin, J.R. and Winner, K. (2022), "Evidence-Informed Practice in Massachusetts (USA): A Systems-level Analysis", Brown, C. and Malin, J.R. (Ed.) The Emerald Handbook of Evidence-Informed Practice in Education, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 197-209.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022 Joel R. Malin and Kendra Winner. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited