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ERIC Number: ED514553
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 70
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
School Perspectives on Collaborative Inquiry: Lessons Learned from New York City, 2009-2010
Robinson, Marian A.
Consortium for Policy Research in Education
Background: Through its Children First initiative, New York City policymakers promoted collaborative inquiry as a process for helping administrators and teachers use student data to improve instruction and raise student achievement. Since 2007, city schools were expected to engage higher proportions of faculty in the inquiry work each year. Purpose: To learn educator perspectives on the value of collaborative inquiry. To identify lessons learned about the conditions, structures, relationships, and leadership practice that support teacher participation and facilitate improvements in teaching and learning. Setting: A large urban school system engaged in a 5+year restructuring initiative in which one component required public schools to engage at least two-thirds of faculty in collaborative inquiry during the 2009-10 school year. Study Sample: A purposeful sample of 13 elementary and secondary schools serving a high/moderate proportion of struggling students and supporting a high proportion of faculty engaged in collaborative inquiry. Study schools present diverse contexts in terms of level and size, professional culture, proportion of students from poor homes or receiving special services, and progress in improving student achievement. Intervention: Collaborative inquiry is school-wide improvement process in which teams of teachers learn to work together to diagnose the needs of students who have not been successful in their classrooms and to develop effective strategies to improve their learning. The report includes a full description (see Figure 1). Research Design: Cross-Sectional; Qualitative; Interview. Control or Comparison Condition: None. Data Collection and Analysis: During 1-2 day site visits in spring 2010 to 13 public schools, the research team conducted 213 interviews with administrators and teachers actively engaged in inquiry and 37 observations of inquiry meetings. Individual school profiles facilitated cross-school analysis of the patterns of implementation, leadership practice, and perceived benefits of collaborative inquiry. Findings: The study reports ten lessons learned, each supported by finding statements based on interview and observation data. Lesson topics include: (1) the uniqueness of inquiry conversations to teachers; (2) principal leadership style supportive of collaborative inquiry; (3) opportunities for teacher leadership; (4) inquiry and the leadership pipeline within the school; (5) the use of existing teacher groups to configure the inquiry work; (6) dedicated, protected time for inquiry; (7) teacher use of data for instructional decision-making; (8) collaborative inquiry as professional development; (9) inquiry and school improvement goals; and, (10) district vision and policy supports to deepen inquiry. Conclusion: The lessons learned presented in the report offer policymakers and school leaders guidance in the configuration, rollout, and support of collaborative inquiry. The lessons also describe the benefits of collaborative inquiry as reported by teachers and administrators. Citation: Robinson, Marian A. (2010, November). School Perspectives on Collaborative Inquiry: Lessons Learned From New York City, 2009-2010. New York: Teachers College, Consortium for Policy Research in Education. (Contains 1 table and 3 figures.) [This report was written with assistance from Claire Passantino, Marsha Acerra, Lauren Bae, Katie Tiehen, Eric Pido, Patricia Kannapel, Mark Duffy, and Connie Langland. The research presented in this report was funded by a grant from The Wallace Foundation through the New York City Department of Education to the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE).]
Consortium for Policy Research in Education. University of Pennsylvania, 3440 Market Street Suite 560, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Tel: 215-593-0700; Fax: 215-573-7914; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Administrators; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Wallace Foundation
Authoring Institution: Consortium for Policy Research in Education
Identifiers - Location: New York