Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in the Journal of Teacher Education 60(5)


Copyright 2009 The Authors.


Currently the press to make policy and practice decisions on the basis of evidence is being coupled with recognition that real change requires shifts in organizational culture. Consequently, there are now many efforts to “re-culture” organizations by making evidence central to decision making. In this article, the authors problematize the notion of a “culture of evidence” in teacher education. Then the article identifies four key aspects involved in efforts to create a culture of evidence at one institution over a five-year period: (1) development of a portfolio of studies about processes and outcomes; (2) recognition that teacher education always poses values questions as well as empirical questions; (3) an exploratory, open-ended approach to evidence construction; and, (4) multiple structures that institutionalize evidence collection and use locally and beyond. The authors suggests that building cultures of evidence has the potential to be transformative in teacher education, but only if challenges related to sustainability, complexity, and balance are addressed.