William R. Penuel

William R. Penuel
University of Colorado Boulder | CUB · School of Education

PhD

About

211
Publications
85,058
Reads
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8,843
Citations
Citations since 2016
74 Research Items
5846 Citations
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Additional affiliations
September 1998 - June 2011
SRI International
Position
  • Director of Evaluation Research

Publications

Publications (211)
Article
Full-text available
Researchers in the learning sciences have explored a collaborative approach to developing innovations that fit into real classroom contexts. The co-design process relies on teachers' ongoing involvement with the design of educational innovations, which typically employ technology as a critical support for practice. To date, investigators have descr...
Article
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This paper presents a conceptual framework to analyze how researchers and district leaders perceive and navigate differences they encounter in the context of research-practice partnerships. Our framework contrasts with dominant images of partnership work as facilitating the translation of research into practice, emphasizing instead that partnership...
Article
This article describes elements of an approach to research and development called design-based implementation research. The approach represents an expansion of design research, which typically focuses on classrooms, to include development and testing of innovations that foster alignment and coordination of supports for improving teaching and learni...
Article
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In this conceptual paper, we describe the approach in storylines that builds on principles of project-based learning and focuses on supports for making science learning coherent from the students’ perspective. In storylines, students see their science work as addressing questions and problems their class has identified. We present design principles...
Article
This framework explores the plurality of ways that research-practice partnerships (RPPs) conceptualize issues of equity, and with what consequences for what gets studied, whose voices are included in inquiry, and what knowledge is foregrounded in partnership activity. We draw on institutional theory and the perspectives of members from diverse part...
Conference Paper
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This paper examines co-design as a space for collaborative learning with distributed expertise across generations and roles. We address a fundamental need in co-design spaces: to develop and surface expertise relevant to the design task across a team. We examine how knowledge building is experienced in a design process that has asymmetric expertise...
Article
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Objectives We examined the extent to which compassion practices helped guide skillful means of care among educators. We engaged educators in a collaborative design (co-design) process that foregrounded two components: (1) contemplative practice and (2) developing skill in how social interactions are embedded within wider systems through individual...
Chapter
This chapter reviews empirical research on researcher-teacher collaboration in science education, from joint inquiry with individual teachers to large-scale efforts to transform science teaching, identifying commitments and tools of these approaches. Assumptions these approaches share are: (1) collaborations can be organized to support individual a...
Article
In this paper, we explore how co-design creates opportunities to learn practical design knowledge related to clarifying and balancing goals for a particular class of design contexts: developing materials that meet ambitious, externally defined disciplinary learning goals that also connect to the interests and priorities of students from minoritized...
Article
Despite calls for evidence-based decision making, the field has a limited understanding of how educational leaders actually engage research. This study draws on a nationally representative sample of 368 district and school leaders who named pieces of research that were useful to their work. Educational leaders found frameworks and practical guidanc...
Article
Given the rapid growth of research–practice partnerships (RPPs), we need a framework that helps the field understand how RPPs can facilitate organizational learning in service of local educational improvement and transformation. Drawing on sociocultural and organizational learning theories, we argue that learning can happen for the organizations en...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic led states and districts to take a break from grading students and pause standardized testing. As part of an ongoing series of articles on how schools might reconceptualize their work, William Penuel considers what kinds of assessment practices should be carried forward, as schools attempt to become more equitable. He suggests...
Article
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The vision of the Framework and NGSS requires important shifts in teaching approaches and instructional materials. We argue that this commitment to engaging learners in meaningful practice and supporting students’ epistemic agency entails that we support coherence from the students’ perspective. This coherence arises when students see their science...
Article
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OpenSciEd is an ambitious effort to implement the vision of the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards broadly across the United States. The premise of OpenSciEd is that high quality instructional materials can play a critical role in transforming science teaching and learning at a broad scale. To achieve its...
Article
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Educational research is repeatedly confronted with the question of its relevance. Current interpretations of relevance narrowly focus on outcomes and impact of research. In this essay, we propose an alternative, ontological conceptualization of relevance, arguing that more is at stake than outcomes and impact. We characterize the ontology of educat...
Article
Research-practice partnerships (RPPs) provide opportunities for researchers to support school districts in addressing the complex challenges they face. Cynthia E. Coburn, William R. Penuel, and Caitlin C. Farrell situate RPPs in the history of educational research and discuss the needs they were designed to address. They then describe what contempo...
Article
Background/Context Research on data and evidence use suggest that productive use depends on interactive processes, including sustained interactions between educators and researchers. Recent research on research-practice partnerships (RPPs) has examined conditions under which these sustained collaborations support evidence use. Findings from these s...
Article
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Por aprendizaje conectado se entiende aquella actividad, práctica o experiencia que vincula los intereses de los aprendices con oportunidades académicas, profesionales y cívicas, a través del apoyo y promoción ofrecida por otros y otras. El propósito fundamental de este artículo consiste en situar dicha aproximación, a la vez teórica y aplicada. Pa...
Article
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A group of collaborative approaches to education research sits uneasily within the existing infrastructure for research and development in the United States. The researchers in this group hold themselves to account to ways of working with schools, families, and communities that are different from the ways envisioned by models for education research...
Article
State-level leaders face a difficult challenge of determining where to invest scarce professional learning dollars. To address this challenge, a team of researchers and state-level science educators surveyed teachers to learn more about their vision for science education and what kind of learning opportunities they preferred. The survey enabled the...
Article
Purpose Empirical investigation into the e-learning innovation, FUSE Studios, is both timely and relevant because FUSE is rapidly expanding domestically and abroad and there is continued interest in the interdisciplinary fields of information and learning sciences in the constructs of choice and interest as they relate to the provision and design o...
Conference Paper
Developing an understanding of education as a complex, adaptive system can be useful in helping leaders understand the impact of various interventions on the system as a whole. This paper describes the design of two learning opportunities, which draw on Actor Network Theory, for assisting state science coordinators in exploring complex educational...
Article
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Research-practice partnerships are collaborative research arrangements that seek to transform the relations among researchers, educators, and communities. There is a wide diversity in partnership forms and research methods used in them. In addition, there remain questions about the value of partnerships, given the time and resources they require to...
Article
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The Mixed Methods Working Group, sponsored by the Spencer Foundation, included senior-level scholars and funders who use or support the use of multiple methods in education research. The group was convened to discuss guidelines for mixed methods research that addresses broad and enduring educational problems in an increasingly diverse and unequal s...
Chapter
This chapter integrates insights from earlier chapters in this volume by naming ways how co-design can support building collective capacity in educational systems for equitable change. By targeting infrastructure rather than innovations in isolation, co-design with teachers has the potential to bring about more coherent guidance for teachers and mo...
Article
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The vision for science proficiency presented in A Framework for K‐12 Science Education calls for significant shifts in both teaching and assessment. In this paper, we describe an effort to develop and validate a set of proximal transfer tasks for high school biology classrooms where teachers were implementing a problem‐based curriculum. The proxima...
Article
In this response to Osborne's commentary, we clarify the bases for our case for drawing on both scientific studies and learning research to guide current reforms in science education. While acknowledging “the constructivist's dilemma,” we assert the fundamental importance of positioning students as knowledge builders in science classrooms.
Article
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Efforts to align educational assessments with the sociocultural foundations of learning and with instruction are limited because we lack evidence of how such systems can be developed and maintained in inherently complex educational settings. Credible use cases are helpful to developing the evidence base, and we present one here: a research-practice...
Conference Paper
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This study examined the conjecture that engaging students with contemporary science-related ethical dilemmas and modern methods for deliberative dialogue to negotiate such dilemmas will increase their science capital. About 80 students participated in a World-Café out-of-school event, along with about 20 adults (teachers, parents, scientists, commu...
Article
This essay presents infrastructuring as a useful construct for guiding efforts to support more equitable implementation and sustainability of resources developed to support student learning in design-based research. Infrastructuring refers to activities that aim to redesign components, relations, and routines of schools and districts that influence...
Article
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In recent years, the focus of science education reform has shifted to engaging students in three‐dimensional science learning experiences aligned with the National Research Council's () Framework for K‐12 Science Education. This movement has been associated with a focus on students participating in science as practice, which represents a significan...
Article
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Much of the impact of a policy depends on how it is implemented, especially as mediated by organizations such as schools or hospitals. Here, we focus on how implementation of evidence‐based practices in human service organizations (e.g., schools, hospitals) is affected by intraorganizational network dynamics. In particular, we hypothesize intraorga...
Article
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Recent scholarship suggests that research use is an interactive, social phenomenon, and that brokers play important roles in facilitating the exchange of research evidence. We add to this body of literature by exploring the role of brokers in the exchange of research evidence among state education agency leaders involved in K-12 science education p...
Article
This article reports on a design‐based implementation research (DBIR) project that addresses the question: How can classrooms be supported at scale to achieve the three‐dimensional learning goals of the Next Generation Science Standards? Inherent in this question are three key design challenges: (i) three‐dimensional learning—the multidimensional c...
Article
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The phenomenon of "brokering"-or connecting youth to present or future opportunities-is now well known in the field of learning and youth development as an integral part of how and why youth pursue and remain in particular interest-related learning opportunities. More recently, the related term sponsorship refers to the multiple ways in which youth...
Article
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Recent scholarship in the interdisciplinary field of the learning sciences has focused on the ways that young people use digital tools to connect learning experiences across different settings and over time. Two aspects stand out in this research: (i) the potency of youth agency in creating new activities, communities, and pathways for interest-rel...
Article
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In the 21st century, what role does interest play in the organization of equitable learning opportunities for young people? Drawing on a large corpus of interview data from a longitudinal study of fifty-four adolescents involved in interest-driven afterschool activities domestically and abroad, we investigate the role of youths’ interests in their...
Article
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This study explores how involving education leaders in the process of research can enhance the practical value of research for them. This paper describes: 1) a design process used for engaging US state science leaders in participatory research; and 2) shifts in understanding that state leaders reported based on their participation. The authors expl...
Article
This paper describes a Networked Improvement Community comprised of a network of 13 states focused on improving coherence and equity in state systems of science education. Grounded in principles of improvement science adapted from healthcare, we are developing and testing resources for formative assessment in science, with the aim of developing sys...
Article
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More than 20 years ago, the New London Group (1996) framed a powerful vision for literacy pedagogies informed by the emerging networked world defined by local diversity and global connectedness, new digital media and fast capitalism. We now fully inhabit the world they described, but the contours of that world’s racial dynamics and growing inequali...
Article
In participatory cultures, the lines between producers and consumers of text are blurred, and communities emerge that are based on shared interest and peer support. Although literacy scholarship has mostly focused on youth engagement and literacy practices within online participatory cultures, scholars in the learning sciences investigate these ide...
Article
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While there is an abundance of data-use literature available, there is still a need to develop methodological approaches for studying naturally occurring data use in decision-making processes over time. The central contribution of this paper is a strategy to understand the use of data in long-term observations of educational leaders’ policy-making...
Article
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This study examined how school and district leaders access, value, and use research. From a representative sample of school districts across the United States, we surveyed 733 school and district leaders as part of an effort to develop understanding of the prevalence of research use, the nature of leaders’ attitudes toward research, and individual...
Article
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The Every Student Succeeds Act grants states new flexibility to create more balanced assessment systems with a greater role for formative assessment. Drawing on lessons learned over three decades of research and reform, we argue that state and local leaders should take the lead in designing new assessments guided by two core principles: First, make...
Chapter
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In this chapter, we describe social models of learning that guide contemporary assessment design, interpretation, and use for informing teaching. Drawing specifically on examples of curricular activity systems that highlight social dimensions of learning, we analyze variations in ways research teams articulate the three vertices of the &;#x0201C;as...
Article
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This study investigated what research district leaders find useful. It draws on evidence from interviews and surveys of central office leaders in three large urban districts in the United States. We find that although leaders did report using research as federal policies intend—to select among curricula, programs, and interventions to adopt—the kin...
Article
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In this paper, we investigate the potential and conditions for using curriculum adaptation to support reform of science teaching and learning. With each wave of reform in science education, curriculum has played a central role and the contemporary wave focused on implementation of the principles and vision of the Framework for K–12 Science Educatio...
Article
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Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) approaches to intervention aim for transformative agency, that is, collective actions that expand and bring about new possibilities for activity (Engeström, Sannino, & Virkkunen, 2014). In this paper, we draw on CHAT as a resource for organizing design research that promotes teachers’ agency in designing n...
Conference Paper
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In this symposium, we examine a unique STEM learning environment that is designed to be interest-driven, leamer-centered, and inclusive of many different types of learners. The four papers presented here demonstrate the unique features of the FUSE learning environment that empower learners. Respectively, they describe the ways in which this environ...
Article
This paper describes an effort to develop a survey instrument capable of measuring important aspects of adolescents’ experiences of interest-related pursuits that are supported by technology. The measure focuses on youths’ experiences of connected learning (Ito et al. in Connected learning: an agenda for research and design. Digital Media and Learn...
Article
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This paper explores practical ways to engage two areas of educational scholarship—research on science learning and research on social networks—to inform efforts to plan and support implementation of new standards. The standards, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; NGSS Lead States in Next generation science standards: For states, by states...
Article
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How teachers make sense of new academic standards significantly shapes the implementation of those standards. Professional development organized around the analysis of mathematical tasks has potential to prepare teachers for standards implementation by helping them develop common understandings of standards and how to help students meet ambitious n...
Article
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Abstract This paper, describes Synergies, an on-going longitudinal study and design effort, being conducted in a diverse, under-resourced community in Portland, Oregon, with the goal of measurably improving STEM learning, interest and participation by early adolescents, both in school and out of school. Authors examine how the work of this particu...
Article
This paper examines the impacts of technology (e.g., Chromebooks, Google Drive) on teacher learning and student activity in the development and implementation of a deeply digital high school biology unit. Using design-based implementation research, teachers co-designed with researchers and curriculum specialists a student-centered unit aligned to t...
Article
Policymakers, funders, and researchers today view research–practice partnerships (RPPs) as a promising approach for expanding the role of research in improving educational practice. Although studies in other fields provide evidence of the potential for RPPs, studies in education are few. This article provides a review of available evidence of the o...
Technical Report
A recent evaluation report from RAND focused on school-wide initiatives funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote teaching approaches touted as personalized learning. These reforms generally rely on digital technology and encompass a range of strategies, such as developing learner profiles with individualized goals, and using data to...
Article
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This paper presents a social practice theory of learning and becoming across contexts and time. Our perspective is rooted in the Danish tradition of critical psychology (Dreier, 1997; Mørck & Huniche, 2006; Nissen, 2005), and we use social practice theory to interpret the pathway of one adolescent whom we followed as part of a longitudinal study of...