CTP Occasional Papers

The Center's Occasional Paper series addresses topics that are timely and intimately connected to the Center's agenda. Papers in this series—some by Center members, others by researchers elsewhere—include conceptual work, research syntheses, discussions of policy issues, and reports of empirical studies undertaken under other auspices. We warmly encourage feedback on these documents to help us refine them in preparation for final reports of our research.

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  1. Architectures for Learning: A Comparative Analysis of Two Urban School Districts
    An Occasional Report in collaboration with The Spencer Foundation by Mary Kay Stein and Cynthia Coburn, January 2007.
  2. Policy Implementation and Learning: How Organizational and Socio-Cultural Learning Theories Elaborate District Central Office Roles in Complex Educational Improvement Efforts
    An Occasional Paper in collaboration with The Spencer Foundation by Meredith Honig, January 2007.
  3. Using Sociocultural Theory to Link Individual and Organizational Learning Processes: The Case of Highline School District's Instructional Improvement Reform
    An Occasional Report in collaboration with The Spencer Foundation by Chrysan Gallucci, January 2007.
  4. Making Subject Matter Part of the Equation: The Intersection of Policy and Content
    An Occasional Paper by Pam Grossman, Susan S. Stodolsky, and Michael S. Knapp, December 2004.

    This conceptual paper offers a framework for understanding how educational policy is related to subject matter. Drawing on literature concerning instructional policymaking and the cultures that surround teaching in different subject areas, the paper distinguishes and illustrates three types of policy, that ignore, target, or differentiate among subject matter areas, respectively. The paper then demonstrates, for each type, how subject matter acts as a crucial context for policy implementation and effects, affecting the policy's impact in often unintended ways. Typically ignored by policy research, these dynamics have special importance for the analysis of reform policies, as well as for the making of policies aimed at teaching and learning.

  5. Theorizing About Responses to Reform: The Role of Communities of Practice
    An Occasional Paper by Chrysan Gallucci, May 2003.

    This paper offers a summary of a policy-oriented case study that examined the practice of six elementary teachers and, more significantly, evaluates the value of a sociocultural approach for analyzing teachers' responses to the professional learning demands of standards-based reform policies.

  6. Meeting the Needs of Failing Readers: Cautions and Considerations for State Policy
    An Occasional Paper by Marsha Riddle Buly and Sheila Valencia, April 2003.

    In this CTP Occasional Paper, the authors' findings are a caution to policymakers and educators who may be tempted to treat the same all students who score "below standard" on statewide reading assessments. By probing beneath student's failing scores on a 4th-grade state reading assessment, the authors found that scores masked distinctive and multifaceted problems having to do with 1) word identification, 2) fluency, and 3) meaning. To have treated the same all students who had failed would have been to miss the different instructional emphases called for by their underlying skills, strategies, and needs. The paper presents reading profiles of failing students and discusses five potential areas as potential policy levers for improving student performance in reading.

  7. Understanding How Policy Meets Practice: Two Takes on Local Response to a State Reform Initiative
    An Occasional Paper by Michael S. Knapp, June 2002.

    In this CTP Occasional Paper, Center Director Mike Knapp explores connections between policy and instructional practice by analyzing two studies that employed different and contrasting research perspectives to examine the same policy case-the early implementation of the California Mathematics Framework. In reviewing the studies, Knapp discusses the conceptual blind spots of each perspective and suggests conceptual work that would enable scholars to entertain richer pictures of policy, instruction, and avenues of influence on instruction.

  8. What Makes Teacher Community Different from a Gathering of Teachers?
    An Occasional Paper by Pamela Grossman, Sam Wineburg, and Stephen Woolworth, January 2001.

    This CTP Occasional Paper details the formation and development of teacher community through a project that brought together 22 English and social studies teachers, a special education teacher, and an ESL teacher to plan interdisciplinary curriculum. It includes colorful sections of dialogue among the teachers and sheds new light on definitions of professional community, its stages of development, and the challenges that confront community building in a fast-paced high school workplace.

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  9. Federal Research Investment and the Improvement of Teaching, 1980-1997
    An Occasional Paper by Julia Koppich and Michael Knapp, April 1998.