Understanding Social Network Structure in Schools Under Corrective Action: A Longitudinal Comparative Analysis of Research Definition Use and Diffusion in Urban Districts

How do district and school staff acquire, interpret, and use research evidence to reform schools designated as in need of “corrective action” by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)?

This supplemental award supports the second phase of an ongoing Foundation-supported study, which takes place in the San Diego Unified School District (CA) and Rochester City School District (NY), two urban districts with a large number of schools placed under corrective action. In phase 1, the investigators collected social network data from school staff and administrators and conducted intensive case studies in a subset of schools. They then used the data to map the districts’ leadership networks and school staff relationships and developed initial measures of how practitioners define, interpret, and use research evidence. Phase 2 work will add to the longitudinal component of the study begun in phase 1, allowing the investigators to examine changes in school and district leadership networks and any associated changes in their definition, acquisition, and use of research evidence over a much longer period of time. The team plans to refine and test measures of research use in a larger sample of schools. Phase 2 will also include social network analyses of relationships between school and central office staff and interviews with key leadership team members in a higher performing urban district. All districts and schools involved in the study serve a disproportionate number of youth of color from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

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