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Rich Networks: Evaluating University High Schools Partnerships Using Graph Analysis

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Assessing K - 12 Engineering Education Programs

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1100.1 - 11.1100.18



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Paper Authors


Gordon Kingsley Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Gordon Kingsley is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Gordon is the project evaluator for the STEP NSF grant, and PI on the Alternative Approaches to Evaluating STEM Education Partnerships NSF grant. His area of research interests are the interactions of public-private partnerships to harness developments in science and technology, and the nature and assessment of educational partnerships.

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Monica Gaughan Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Monica Gaughan is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy. Her research currently focuses on higher education policy and administration, and scientific careers and labor force. She was awarded an NSF CAREER award to investigate the effects of university-level personnel policies and practices on the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women faculty in science fields.

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Donna Llewellyn Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Donna C. Llewellyn is the Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at the Georgia Institute of Technolgy. Donna received her doctorate from Cornell University in Operations Research and spent ten years on the faculty in Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech. Her primary research interests now are in the educational domain, specifically improving access and equity in STEM disciplines for underrepresented groups. Donna is the PI of the NSF GK-12 grant, STEP.

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Marion Usselman Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Marion C. Usselman is a Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Marion received her Ph.D. in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University and has taught in the Biology Department at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She focuses on equity issues in education and K-12 educational reform. Marion is co-PI of the STEP NSF grant.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Rich Networks: Evaluating University-High Schools Partnerships Using Graph Analysis

Introduction Educational partnerships created between institutions of higher education and K-12 educational communities are complicated entities that defy easy assessment. Members of the partnership often propose concrete educational objectives at the onset, with baseline measurements and evaluation parameters dutifully defined. However good partnerships have a tendency to grow and develop in wholly unanticipated directions, forming networks and having effects far beyond the scope of the initial project. This growth, fueled by institutional strategic needs that are complementary and nurtured by crucial champions on both sides, is the basis for a partnership that can be sustained beyond the time limits of the initial project’s external funding. For Principal Investigators, project managers and program evaluators, the critical questions become: How can I analyze the partnership in ways that capture all important components and relationships? and How can I predict whether a particular partnership is growing and gaining a life of its own, or whether it is sustained only by a few key individuals and the direct infusion of external cash?

This paper investigates using graph analysis to study the network of interactions from one specific university-high school partnership program—the Student and Teacher Enhancement Partnership (STEP) program. The study analyzes the partnership networks between the Georgia Institute of Technology and Westlake High School, a 99% African American high school in metro-Atlanta, over a three year period and uses the results to assess the extent, impact, and likely future of the partnership. For each year, the partnership can be modeled by using a variety of graphs; in each case the vertices are the different "players" in the partnership (university faculty, graduate students, high school teachers, high school classes, clubs, etc.) and the edges connect participants who interact, with edge weights related to the strength of that interaction. These models then allow classical graph theory analysis to measure densities, connectedness, and other graph properties. In addition, social science graphical tools and summary measures can be used to generate visualizations of the partnership network. This method of analysis holds promise as an effective instrument for assessing the development and health of educational partnerships, thereby assisting with the answers to the critical questions posed above.

Background of Partnership and Evaluation Plan The National Science Foundation’s GK-12 program, funded through the Graduate Education directorate, provides support for institutions of higher education to place graduate and undergraduate students into K-12 classrooms for ten hours per week. Georgia Tech’s Student and Teacher Enhancement Partnership (STEP) GK-12 program1 was funded in 2001 for three years with a continuation for another five years (as STEP Up!2), and partners Georgia Tech graduate and undergraduate students with teams of teachers at metro-Atlanta high schools with three broad goals:

1 NSF Award Number 0086420 2 NSF Award Number 0338261

Kingsley, G., & Gaughan, M., & Llewellyn, D., & Usselman, M. (2006, June), Rich Networks: Evaluating University High Schools Partnerships Using Graph Analysis Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--201

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