Evidence-based Practice: Is it Actionable Information or Judgement Support

A recent article can be read as another interesting take on the relationship between science and practice.  The reference is:

Stake, R.E. (2009). The incredible lightness of evidence: Problems of synthesis in educational evaluation, Studies in Educational Evaluation, 35,  pp. 3-6.

In the authors words:

Educational measurement and evaluation is . . .  a problematic field. Standardized testing is magnificent in its conceptual structure, and it is ‘‘out of control’’ in educational practice.  . . . there is widespread advocacy for evidence- based decision-making . . . (and) One quickly understands that many of its advocates are speaking of evidence in the form of objective, science-driven, decontextualized, action determining knowledge, more than as material for user deliberation.

Evidence is an important concept also in establishing a rationale or potential for action. Here there is no single criterion but multiple criteria . . .  policy should be based on many factors, on evidence of many kinds.  . . . Evidence is an attribute of information, but it is also an attribute of persuasion. It contributes to understanding and conviction.  . . . Evidence should be subordinate to judgment, crafted to user conviction. (emphasis added)