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Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships as a Strategy for Scaled Educational Improvement


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There is a new vision to guide K-12 science education. The NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education and the resulting Next Generation Science Standards asks educators to engage students in authentic disciplinary practices in order to support their learning and application of disciplinary core ideas and cross-cutting concepts from across the sciences. The goal is to promote deeper understanding of fewer concepts more coherently across K-12. This new vision includes significant shifts in what it means to teach and learn science. As a result, new problems of educational practice are emerging at different levels of the system--about classroom instruction, assessment, professional development, and district implementation.

There is a growing recognition that research-practice partnerships might be a way to support educational improvement at systems-level scale. This video shows how one partnership is working to implement the new vision for science education across two urban school districts--Seattle and Renton. Teachers adapt existing instructional materials, teach those units, reflect on student learning, and share resources with peers. Researchers collaborate with teachers around problems of practice that come up in the classroom and engage in the co-design of professional development with staff from the district and with STEM professionals and science educators from a non-profit. Research is focused on teacher and student learning, how ideas and tools flow through the social networks of teachers, and how educational initiatives can be conducted within districts with many--often competing--initiatives. Teacher learning resources are developed and shared broadly through the web site.