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Volume 19, Number 6
November/December 2003

“Research I Can Sink My Teeth Into”

Making the research-practice partnership work


English teacher Warren Wolfe has his doubts about much of the education research he has seen over the years: "I can read research reports until the cows come home, but until the gap is bridged between research and practice—between data and something specific that I can change in my classroom—there's a real disconnect."

Wolfe may therefore seem an unlikely candidate for a working partnership with a Harvard researcher. But he is one of about two dozen teachers at Evanston (Ill.) Township High School involved in the Tripod Project, based on work by Ronald Ferguson of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government to combat the underachievement of minority (primarily African American and Latino) students.

Twenty school districts participate in the project, with levels of participation ranging from entire districts—Ohio has the largest number of schools involved—to smaller groups of faculty within schools, as is the case in Evanston. The "tripod" in the project's title refers to the three "legs" on which Ferguson says school success stands: pedagogy, relationships, and content.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


For Further Information

For Further Information

R.F. Ferguson. “What Doesn’t Meet the Eye: Understanding and AddressingRacial Disparities in High-Achieving Suburban Schools.” North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.

Tripod Project, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.