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K-20 Partnerships: Literature Review and Recommendations for Research


Federal programs, such as the National Science Foundation's Math and
Science Partnership program, are promoting partnerships between K-12
school districts and higher education institutions (K-20 partnerships)
in hopes of fostering greater alignment and cooperation among
participating institutions and pooling resources to address persistent
problems associated with poor student performance. To identify what is
known about K-20 partnerships and assess the rigor of the available
research, the authors undertook a literature review. They identified 36
research articles that met preestablished selection criteria, reviewed
all articles, and conducted an analysis of the literature. The analysis
addresses the following questions: (a) What inquiry methods have been
used to study K-20 partnerships, and what is the rigor of the methods?
(b) How is partnership defined? and (c) What do we know about the
formation, process, and results associated with partnerships? The
authors conclude that the K-20 partnership literature lacks
methodological rigor and scope, that partnership is almost always
inadequately defined, and that the research about how K-20 partnerships
form and function and what they achieve contains significant gaps.
Despite these weaknesses in the literature, a strength is that multiple,
independent qualitative researchers working with a grounded approach and
in different contexts arrived at similar conclusions about factors
associated with the success and failure of partnerships. The authors
recommend that future research articles begin with a clear definition of
the term partnership, build upon and extend available research through
replication studies and diversification of samples, pay closer attention
to the contexts in which K-20 partnerships operate, and include findings
on how K-20 partnerships form and function.

Note that the database used in this paper may be accessed at the following link: ?site=013811151650800000/RWWS2A1323965/ Education_Partnership_Literature_Review