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REL Southwest Roundup: Bridging the gap from research to practice and policy

REL Southwest Roundup: Bridging the gap from research to practice and policy

By Leslie Nail | June 28, 2018

Effective decisions regarding education policy and practice must be informed by research-based evidence and data. Decisionmakers' knowledge and use of research evidence is essential to bring about policy and systems change, improve district and school performance, and promote student achievement. Helping decisionmakers bridge the gap from research to practice and policy is a main priority of REL Southwest.

In Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, REL Southwest at American Institutes for Research has formed collaborative research partnerships focused on high-leverage education issues. These teams of researchers, state education agency and district leaders, practitioners, and nonprofit organization representatives work together to refine research questions customized to their needs. They produce and communicate relevant research evidence. And they develop tools, resources, best practices, and technical support to ensure effective application of research findings. But that's not the end of the journey.

The collaborative research partnership process is iterative and sustained over time—a learning cycle. It builds on the knowledge, skills, experiences, and networks of the partnership members and continually strengthens and reinforces their ability to apply research-based evidence toward addressing high-leverage education problems. Working together, REL Southwest partners are increasing the capacity of individuals and their organizations to put knowledge to work.

And now we're pleased to launch our blog, the REL Southwest Roundup. Through this blog, we'll share our work and what we learn. We'll take an ongoing, in-depth look at research-practice partnership topics, the collaborative work being conducted, and how stakeholders are using results from this work to help provide a high-quality education to every student they serve. In addition to the focus on our partnerships, the Roundup will present news of other high-leverage REL Southwest endeavors, including one-time or stand-alone projects that may develop into new partnerships. This education community forum will feature the diverse voices of researchers, practitioners, Governing Board members, state agency partners, policymakers, and many other stakeholders.

We hope this blog will deepen communication and understanding among our readers and encourage them to join in the conversation.

Do you have an education research-to-practice story to tell or a question you would like us to explore? Let us hear from you!

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Author Information

Leslie Nail

Leslie Nail

Communications Specialist | REL Southwest

lnail@air.org