In October 2017, American Institutes for Research (AIR) convened a panel of more than 30 teacher educators, researchers, and school and district leaders to present interdisciplinary research study designs that would break ground on new ways to better prepare teachers.
These innovative designs, and the conversations they sparked, represent the cutting edge of teacher preparation research. They also foreshadow what this new approach to research-for-improvement can look like given appropriate resources, attention, and collaborative support.
A new report, New Collaborations, New Approaches, shares promising research designs for teacher preparation and describes the challenges that could arise when conducting research in dynamic contexts. It defines four essential features of research for program improvement, as follows:
- Actionable – research that yields information that can be acted on
- Contextualized – research that takes the context into account
- Nuanced – research that engages with subtle but important differences in program inputs, practices, outcomes, and contexts
- Formative – research that informs program development and improvement throughout implementation