Dr. Katina Stapleton
The Institute's training programs are intended to help ensure that researchers have the skills to produce research that is rigorous in method as well as relevant and accessible to education stakeholders such as practitioners and policymakers. For rigorous research to have a practical impact, practitioners and policymakers must draw upon it as they make decisions regarding education practice and policy. Correspondingly, researchers should draw upon the knowledge and concerns of practitioners and policymakers to ensure they are addressing important research questions.
Individuals making practice/policy decisions regarding specific education issues are situated at many levels including the school, district, State education agency, and State government. These people may not have easy access to the latest evidence from rigorous education research and may benefit from an explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of the existing literature regarding their topic of interest.
Training in Education Research Use and Practice (Use and Practice) projects are to bring together policymakers, practitioners, and researchers around a specific issue in order to share the latest evidence on the issue with policymakers and practitioners and to provide policymakers and practitioners an opportunity to talk with researchers regarding their own informational needs. For example, a partnership could be formed to examine program options and research evidence on prekindergarten programs and to develop research-based recommendations for a State or school district interested in developing or expanding such programs. Another example might be to form a partnership focused on reviewing research evidence on adult basic education and English language instruction and its implications for increasing the effectiveness of courses offered by school districts, community colleges, and other providers.
A Use and Practice project might also provide an ongoing means of support to practitioners/policymakers on a practice/policy in the process of being implemented (as well as means to identify for researchers the important research issues regarding that practice/policy). For example, a State or district that has implemented a new teacher evaluation system might create a working group of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to obtain research findings on teacher evaluation methods as well as identify further issues to examine to improve the system and its implementation. Similarly, a joint group of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers might help a State or district address implementation of the Common Core State Standards as well as identify important issues for research.
NOTE: For FY 2014, the Institute split the Researcher and Policymaker Training Program in the Education Sciences into two separate programs: Methods Training for Education Researchers and Training in Education Research Use and Practice.