Speaker Series: Dr. Craig De Voto, University of Illinois at Chicago
Examining Network Effectiveness in Research-Practice Partnerships
Abstract: Over the past decade, research-practice partnerships (RPPs) have become an increasingly popular approach for educational improvement. Despite such growth, there remains a significant gap surrounding their effectiveness (and how to define it), the affordances and limitations of specific designs, and the contextual conditions that play a complementary role. In this talk, I therefore reveal some of these important elements. Drawing from several RPPs over the past three years, I provide a glimpse into how recently established district math leadership teams (DMLTs) have addressed local problems of practice. Extensive interview, survey, and social network data show that these DMLTs have either promoted or hindered such math improvement efforts based on several key elements: 1) the agreed upon roles, responsibilities, and structural processes; 2) shared understandings surrounding RPP goals; and 3) identifying a feasible problem of practice informed by rigorous data. However, these elements are further influenced by contextual conditions, particularly a district’s prior expertise and material resources. I conclude with a discussion about how universities looking to establish RPPs for educational improvement might successfully navigate these efforts with districts.