Research-Practice Partnership Strategies to Conduct and Use Research to Inform Practice

April 12, 2021


Erin Henrick

Partner to Improve

Steven McGee

The Learning Partnership

Lucia Dettori

DePaul University

Troy Williams

Chicago Public Schools

Andrew M. Rasmussen

Chicago Public Schools

Don Yanek

Chicago Public Schools

Ronald I. Greenberg

Loyola University

Dle F. Reed

University of Illinois Chicago

This study examines the collaborative processes the Chicago Alliance for Equity in Computer Science (CAFÉCS) uses to conduct and use research. The CAFÉCS RPP is a partnership between Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Loyola University Chicago, The Learning Partnership, DePaul University, and University of Illinois at Chicago. Data used in this analysis comes from three years of evaluation data, and includes an analysis of team documents, meeting observations, and interviews with 25 members of the CAFÉCS RPP team.  The analysis examines how three problems are being investigated by the partnership: 1) student failure rate in an introductory computer science course, 2) teachers’ limited use of discussion techniques in an introductory computer science class, and 3) computer science teacher retention. Results from the analysis indicate that the RPP engages in a formalized problem-solving cycle. The problem-solving cycle includes the following steps: First, the Office of Computer Science (OCS) identifies a problem. Next, the CAFÉCS team brainstorms and prioritizes hypotheses to test. Next, data analysis clarifies the problem and the research findings are shared and interpreted by the entire team. Finally, the findings are used to inform OCS improvement strategies and next steps for the CAFÉCS research agenda. There are slight variations in the problem-solving cycle, depending on the stage of understanding of the problem, which has implications for the mode of research (e.g hypothesis testing, research and design, continuous improvement, or evaluation). 

Suggested Citation

Henrick, E., McGee, S., Dettori, L., Williams, T., Rasmussen, A. M., Yanek, D., Greenberg, R. I., & Reed, D. F. (2021, April). Research-Practice Partnership Strategies to Conduct and Use Research to Inform Practice. Paper presented at the virtual annual meeting of American Educational Research Association.

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