Local Uses of Evidence

Research Questions

What is Involved in Teaching?
How can Teacher Education Help?
How Can Professional Development Help?
How Can Policy Help?
How Can Research Help?
How can we Improve Research?

Research Projects

Teacher Qualifications and the Quality of Teaching
Class Acts
Research and Teacher Learning
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning
Teacher Education and Learning to Teach
Local Uses of Evidence
Evaluations of Federal Programs


Michigan State University
College of Education
Graduate Program in Teacher Education
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning



Prior to joining Michigan State, I conducted a study of how school districts used the many forms of data that the federal government required them to gather. Districts maintain testing programs and conducts evaluations of many of their federally-sponsored programs. The papers are a sampling of the findings from that study.

Kennedy, M. M. (1984). How evidence alters understanding and decisions. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 6(3), 207-226.

Reviews the different ways in which local school district personnel interact with available evidence and the kinds of uses they made of it.

Kennedy, M. M. (1984). Assessing the validity of qualitative data. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 6(4), 367-377.

Examines the question of whether qualitative data really have the sort of "natural" validity that is often assumed. Reviews some threats to validity that are inherent in interview data.

Kennedy, M. M. (1983). Working knowledge. Knowledge: Creation, diffusion, utilization, 5, 193-211

I coined the term "working knowledge" to refer to knowledge that is both specific to the work situation and also tentative and evolving. This paper shows how people draw on relevant evidence to revise their working knowledge and also how they use their working knowledge to interpret the evidence.

Kennedy, M. M. (1982). The role of experiments in improving education. In C. B. Aslanian (Ed.), Improving educational evaluation methods. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Examines randomized experiments conduced in three school districts and also addresses the question of why there aren't more.

Kennedy, M. M. (1983). The role of the in-house evaluator. Evaluation Review, 7, 519-541.

Examines role conflicts for people who work within school districts

Kennedy, M. M. (1985). Teacher reactions to use of tests for accountability. In D. U. Levine (Ed.), Improving student achievement through mastery learning programs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kennedy, M. M. (1980). Test scores and individual rights. In R. Jaeger and W. Russell (Eds.), Minimum competency achievement testing: Motives, models, measures and consequences (pp. 189-200). New York: McCutchan.