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Using cultural models to understand faculty sense-making processes within the structural and socio-cultural context of a comprehensive university


"Research on reform implementation in both higher education and K-12 has found that policy directives are frequently adapted and transformed by individual agents at the local school or IHE level (Coburn, 2001; Spillane et al, 2002). The process of interpreting policy interventions and adapting them to one's own local situation is sometimes called sense-making, where institutional actors "make sense" of their environment and select appropriate actions. ...

This paper addresses these issues by integrating cultural model theory from cognitive anthropology into an evaluation design, in order to understand the specific constituent elements of the social and cultural context of teaching, and how they shape the tacit understandings of IHE faculty or K-12 teachers. The research described here is based on an exploratory analysis of the National Science Foundation-funded System-Wide Change for All Learners (SCALE) project's activities at a West Coast comprehensive university between 2004 and 2007. This project is part of the NSF Math & Science Partnership program."