“SERP field sites are structured as a set of three closely connected, and partially overlapping, groups: The Core Group, The Design Team, and the Research Team.”
The SERP-MSAN Partnership
The partnership's current focus is Algebra I learning and Academic Engagement. The field site includes five Minority Student Achievement Network districts; eleven other MSAN districts participate as affiliate partners. MSAN is a national coalition of multiracial, suburban-urban school districts that have come together to study achievement gaps that exist in their districts.
Partner districts are:
- Arlington Public Schools (VA) , Evanston Township High School (IL) , Evanston/Skokie School District 65 (IL) , Madison Metropolitan School District (WI) , Shaker Heights City School District (OH)
- Baruch College, Carnegie-Mellon University, New York University, Portland University, Stanford University, Tufts, Temple, University of Michigan, University of Rochester, University of Texas, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Current/Pending Partnership Activities:
How can classroom friendly Algebra I assignments be strategically designed to address students’ mathematical misconceptions and reduce the achievement gap?
In 2007, Goldman Sachs Foundation awarded SERP a two year follow-up grant to conduct the Strategic Algebra Assignments Project. This intensive partnership activity has led to the co-development of 25 specially designed Algebra assignments with an active research effort ongoing to understand their effects. Preliminary results have been promising with details to be reported in the near future. details
How can research on motivation be used to prepare teachers to more successfully encourage students to employ effective effort?
In 2009 a SERP-MSAN Motivation Design Group meeting was held in Washington, D.C. SERP and MSAN staff, district representatives and researchers from multiple disciplines explored multiple contributors to student motivation and effective effort – collectively, academic engagement. details
In 2006, the Goldman Sachs Foundation awarded SERP a one-year planning grant to support the establishment of a SERP Field Site partnership with MSAN. In 2006 & 2007 the groundwork was laid for an inaugural program of research and development. Representative districts from within MSAN applied for and were selected as partners. Participating districts identified two primary goals: content learning issues that may contribute to an achievement gap in Algebra I and student academic engagement at the time of transition from middle to high school. The partnership team of SERP and MSAN staff, district representatives and researchers met over the course of that year to plan an initial program of research and development targeting those two challenges.
In addition to identifying the broad challenge areas of Algebra I and Academic Engagement, particularly as they relate to the achievement gap, the partnering districts also agreed the following principles were important in evaluating potential partnership activities:
- Interventions should apply to all students, not just minorities
- Interventions should not be add-ons
- No common curriculum should be required to use the intervention
- Intervention activity should solve a problem, and generate knowledge Intervention activity should solve a problem, and generate knowledge