Title: A New Model for the Role of Research in Supporting Urban School Reform
Author: Roderick, Melissa; Easton, John Q.; Sebring, Penny Bender
Publication Information: Consortium on Chicago School Research. 1313 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637.
ERIC number: ED505178
Abstract: Since its founding in 1990, the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) has been viewed as making significant contributions to school reform, both through the findings and implications of specific research studies and more broadly by improving the capacity of the district to use data, build effective strategies, and evaluate progress. In this report, it is argued that CCSR's focus on building capacity for school reform both sets CCSR's role apart from traditional approaches researchers have used to influence policy and practice and also represents a new model for conducting policy-relevant research. This report begins with a brief background of CCSR and describes how a focus on capacity building has been institutionalized in a specific set of organizational arrangements that allows researchers to establish coherence across studies, seek broad stakeholder engagement, and make findings accessible. CCSR advocates that traditional models that have guided how researchers seek to inform policy development and practice often fall short in building the capacity of educators and policymakers. Developing new roles for research is viewed as increasingly important in emerging policy environments that depend significantly on the capacity of teachers and principals to manage decentralized decision making and school improvement efforts. CCSR's approach to the role of research in policy development emerged over time as researchers responded to the needs created by educational policy shifts, evolving into a model focused on building capacity through supporting the search for solutions. A CCSR case study on the transition to high school is presented to illustrate how lessons learned are formalized and how the role of research in supporting school reform is conceptualized to provide a guide for conducting research and building knowledge and coherence across a variety of studies. (ERIC abstract)