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Strengthening Practice and Policy through University-Agency Partnerships

Thu, April 6, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Austin Convention Center, Meeting Room 18B

Session Type: Paper Symposium

Integrative Statement

Public and private investments have led to greater rigor in educational research, on one hand, and a push for districts to implement evidence-based programs, on the other. Despite these parallel and seemingly reinforcing trends, the gap between research and practice remains large (Tseng, 2012). Scholars, practitioners, and policymakers have increasingly called for greater usability of research (Tseng, 2012) and greater innovation in the ways social science is deployed to solve educational problems (Bryk, 2009; Easton, 2014; Raver, 2013). As suggested in an SRCD Social Policy Report, developing research-practice partnerships may be a uniquely effective strategy for producing relevant research findings and supporting practice and policy (Easton, 2012; Tseng, 2012).

This symposium presents three research-practice partnerships in large urban school districts, each designed to address pressing educational issues in these local contexts: (1) In New York City, researchers and district leaders have partnered to monitor and ensure quality during a rapid expansion of universal pre-kindergarten; (2) in D.C., a research-practice team examines how technology-enhanced teaching and learning is affecting student achievement and district policy; (3) in Los Angeles, researchers are helping the school district infuse research and evidence-based decision-making into their college and career readiness plan. The papers in this session will describe these partnership projects; highlight how and why partnerships are effective at influencing policy; note challenges inherent to this work; and identify key ingredients of successful partnerships across different projects with different aims in different settings. A national leader in education, as discussant, will address implications for policy change.

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