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The SERP Approach to Problem—Solving Research, Development, and Implementation


by Suzanne Donovan, Catherine Snow & Philip Daro — 2013

Education researchers are increasingly working in practice-based partnerships in order to direct their research efforts toward important problems of practice. We argue for the creation of an infrastructure to support routine and sustained interaction among researchers, practitioners, and designers in order to make partnership efforts more efficient and effective over time. We describe SERP’s efforts to initiate such an infrastructure through the creation and operation of “field sites”—long-term research, development, and implementation partnerships with school districts. We describe principles for field site operation and for product design that are emerging through our “learning by doing” approach. And we argue that the field site partnerships have produced work that is fundamentally different in character and content because of the SERP rules of engagement. SERP work is also more coherent because of its interdisciplinary character, and the sophistication of the partnership’s work grows over time as related lines of work become integrated and as those engaged in sustained collaboration learn from each other.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 112. No. 2.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 14, 2013, p. 400-425
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18358, Date Accessed: 10/22/2017 2:26:39 AM

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About the Author
  • Suzanne Donovan
    SERP Institute
    E-mail Author
    SUZANNE DONOVAN is the founding executive director of the SERP Institute. She has a longstanding interest in more effectively bridging the worlds of education research and practice. Her research is synthetic in nature; she served as editor of numerous National Research Council reports, including Strategic Education Research Partnership (2003), and How Students Learn: History, Mathematics, and Science in the Classroom (2005), produced by National Academies Press in Washington, DC.
  • Catherine Snow
    Harvard University
    E-mail Author
    CATHERINE SNOW is the Patricia Albjerg Graham Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She studies language and literacy development among students learning in their first and their second languages, with a focus on those placed at risk of poor academic outcomes. She has published many dozens of research articles related to these topics, and led the committees that produced the NRC report Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children (1998) as well as the RAND Reading Study Group report Reading for Understanding (2000).
  • Philip Daro
    SERP Institute
    E-mail Author
    PHIL DARO is the director of mathematics for the SERP Institute’s Bay Area sites. He also engages with the efforts of other organizations to design and use leadership tools for change at every level of the educational system, and consults with states and school districts on their accountability systems and mathematics programs. He was an author of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, and provides vision and guidance for the development of a system of digital mathematics courses based on the CCSS for Pearson.
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