Plus Alpha’s white paper series is designed to bridge the communications gaps between researchers, educators, policymakers, and stakeholders.
Researchers typically go about their work—of determining what works in education—within higher education communities or at large-scale research firms. Research results are typically communicated through peer-reviewed journal articles read primarily by fellow researchers and education leaders trained in the extensive jargon of the field. As a result, gaps form between the important findings of researchers and everyone else. All too often, research findings rarely reach teachers and education leaders in a timely manner, if at all.
Educators are often left to create best practices and build evidence of what works one student, one classroom, and one school year at a time. As their professional obligations allow, they communicate results to their peers through professional networks and learning communities, but dissemination beyond these networks is hard to come by.
But the quest for all education stakeholders remains the same: To build evidence of what works and share that information to improve educational systems and therefore student outcomes. Plus Alpha is a team of researchers and educators. Our goal with our white paper series is to infuse a rigorous and systematic research approach to an education problem and propose evidence-based, efficient solutions to improve schools. Our white paper series will feature research syntheses and applications, case studies, toolkits and protocols, best practice guides, and position pieces. As always, we welcome on-going dialogue regarding any of Plus Alpha’s services, reports, presentations, and white papers.
In this white paper, we advocate for using our statistical peer groups methodology to deepen and reinvigorate the school improvement process. By leveraging extant data in parallel with educator strengths, school improvement can be de-mystified and realized.