‘The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create It' -- P. Drucker: Crafting a Collaborative National PDS Research Agenda

‘The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create It' -- P. Drucker: Crafting a Collaborative National PDS Research Agenda

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7860-5.ch006
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This final chapter begins with a section on the history of professional development school partnerships and the current need to advance PDS and partnership research through the development of a collaborative national research agenda. The second section outlines a working framework for a core national research agenda seen as an inventive vision and tool for future empirical partnership work between researchers and teachers. The agenda is adaptable to other partnerships and involves multi-site and cross-regional partnership studies for strengthening evidence and claims of effectiveness. The focus is on the four-part K-20 partnership model: preparing new teachers, enhancing professional development, conducting meaningful collaborative research, and advancing student learning and achievement. Examples of newer research questions and a conceptual model for a research study using a quasi-experimental research approach are offered to researchers and teachers who are collaborating with one another for “re-inventing” American education and impacting policy during this new era of change.
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History Of Pds And The Need To Advance Partnership Research

In 1983, the U. S. report A Nation at Risk painted an appalling picture of American education and its potential to threaten the economic and social future of the nation. The call for action and reform agendas in education and teacher education was loud and clear. In response to the call and the many issues highlighted in the report, a group of deans of schools of education from research universities around the nation formed what has come to be known as the Holmes Group. The Holmes Group produced three important reform reports: Tomorrow’s Teachers (1986); Tomorrow’s Schools: Principles for the Design of Professional Development Schools (1990); and Tomorrow’s Schools of Education (1995). Conceived of in the first report and then elaborated on in the second report, PDSs and the concept of a PDS partnership between a university and a school in teacher education was presented to the education community. Many in the field embraced the concept and mission of a PDS. Subsequently, PDS partnerships (PDSs) grew in number and appeal. Most of the PDSs then and now adhere to a four-part mission and model:

  • Preparation of preservice teachers.

  • Enhanced professional development of inservice teachers, as well as other constituents of the partnership (e.g., principals, professors, families etc.).

  • Engagement in collaborative inquiry, innovation and research on learning, teaching, and educational practices.

  • Improvement and advancement of student learning and achievement at both the school and university level.

In addition, many PDSs fostered notions of continuous improvement and simultaneous renewal of their partnering institutions. As originally conceived, PDSs were thought to transform to newer education institutions. These newer institutions were expected to usher in innovative change, improvement and reform in education and teacher education (Holmes, 1990; Teitel, 2011). In the 1990s, terms such as teaching hospitals (Rutter, 2011; Zenkov, Shiveley, & Clark, 2016) and schools of pedagogy (Goodlad, 1990) were used to refer to these new structures or inter-institutional partnerships. Later in the early 2000s, the states of Maryland and Louisiana mandated PDS partnerships, and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education developed a set of PDS Standards (see Neapolitan & Levine, 2011; NCATE, 2001; and the Maryland State Department of Education, 2004). The standards were for voluntary use by those institutions seeking accreditation for their teacher preparation programs. More recently in 2013, the newly created Council for the Accreditation of Educator Programs, commonly known as CAEP, released five new standards for educator preparation. To meet Standard 2 – Clinical Partnerships and Practice, CAEP cited PDS partnership arrangements as good examples of the Standard (CAEP, 2013; Polly, 2016). In addition, CAEP (2013) encouraged institutions to conduct research and action research (the fourth component of the PDS model) as a viable means of gathering credible evidence to meet the standards and demonstrate program quality and effectiveness (see as examples Catelli, Carlino, & Petraglia, 2014; Catelli, Carlino, Petraglia, Godek, & Jackson, 2016).

In 2010, two influential national reports, NCATE’s Blue Ribbon Panel Report, Transforming Teacher Education, which focused on clinical teacher preparation and partnerships, and the National Research Council’s Report, Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy, gave credence and support to PDSs. The two reports noted the value of PDSs’ core clinical practices for practicing teachers and teacher candidates (first and second component of the PDS model). The reports energized the PDS community and solidified PDS as a major player in teacher preparation and professional development directed at student learning.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Research Agenda: In general, a research agenda in education identifies gaps in knowledge and in practice and puts forth research questions that have significance for advancing and influencing an academic field, discipline or area of study.

Quasi-Experimental Investigation: A quasi-experimental investigation involves the manipulation of an independent variable without random assignment of participants to conditions. Such a study often has treatments, interventions and outcome measures but is without a random assignment of participants. In contrast, in an experimental investigation participants are randomly assigned to a treatment or to a control group. Quasi-experimental designs attempt to test the causal impact of an intervention by manipulating the intervention and observing the outcome or intended impact.

Continuous Improvement: The term continuous improvement in education refers to any school or instructional-improvement process that unfolds progressively, that does not have a fixed or predetermined end point and that is sustained over extended periods of time. It involves an ongoing process of learning, self-reflection, adaptation, and growth ( https://edglossary.org ).

Teaching Hospitals: A term used in education to refer to schools that partner with a university or a college of education and its professional education programs to improve K-12 education and student learning through research. The partnership between the two entities is to provide preparatory training to future educators and professional development to current professionals in education. The term is often used to describe professional development school partnerships (PDS). The concept of a teaching hospital originated in medicine and refers to hospitals that partner with medical schools for (a) the training of medical students, interns, new doctors and nurses, and (b) the development of innovative methods of medical and health care practices through learning and research.

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