Successful alternative teacher preparation university partnerships: what works?
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Educational partnerships surged in the 1980s, and saw an equally substantive increase in research about these relationships. However, not all aspects of these partnerships have been examined and as a result there are gaps in the literature. A thorough literature review confirmed that in fact there was no research specifically about partnerships between traditional schools of education and non-traditional teacher training organizations. After identifying the specific partnerships to study, I collected documents, held a conference that included focus groups, administered a survey, and conducted individual interviews. I was also provided existing survey data from the partners. I coded the qualitative data to find themes across the partnerships. At the same time, I created an evaluation rubric that was used to determine the effectiveness of each partnership based on the characteristics found in each. After reviewing the data and coding it thematically, I found three common factors that existed in the various partnerships. These factors of communication, commitment, and evaluation emerged as the primary drivers of or barriers to, the success of the partnership. These characteristics are exhibited in different ways and to different degrees in each partnership. Using the data to uncover these factors, I developed a rubric that can be used to determine their existence within a partnership. This research provides guidance and a method of evaluation for similar new partnerships across the country. It aids in their development and supports their continual improvement. Simultaneously, the rubric and research should help existing partnerships improve their current relationships and collaboration.