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Education Partnerships: Defining, Observing, Measuring and Evaluating


"In education, practitioners, consultants, evaluators, and researchers are challenged with the need to model and assess the performance of work involving multiple organizations. Partnership, one form of inter-organization relationship, has drawn recent attention largely as a consequence of public policies. The Math Science Partnership (MSP) program of the National Science Foundation (NSF), which provides the context and impetus for this essay, is but one of many federal programs aimed at fostering partnerships as a means of policy implementation and innovation. The need to understand how partnering works, and whether it influences the outcomes of programmatic work, has led to a growing body of evaluation studies and research. This paper reviews this literature in an effort to synthesize the concepts and measures used in the study of partnership. While our focus is primarily on partnerships between K-12 schools and institutions of higher education (IHE) like those in MSP, we have reviewed studies of partnership in other policy domains in order to develop a broader understanding of the topic and to learn from other professional communities."