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Video Spotlight: Collaborative Research With the New Mexico Achievement Gap Research Alliance

Watch our new video to learn how we conduct collaborative research with our New Mexico Achievement Gap Research Alliance. This alliance seeks to improve academic success among New Mexico's Hispanic and Native American students in grades K–12. In particular, the alliance is interested in identifying factors that facilitate or impede efforts to reduce achievement gaps.

Alliance members include New Mexico educators, policymakers, researchers, and others. These members collaborate with REL Southwest researchers to identify specific problems and questions to investigate. Members then provide guidance and feedback during the research phase and once findings are available, help apply and share them to address the identified problems.

"What's been really nice about being involved with the alliance is we've gone through this great process of kind of throwing it all up on the table and saying, 'Okay, what is it that we need more information on? What would help us to inform our decisions we're making on helping schools and students and families?'"

— Alliance member David Rogers, Executive Director, Dual Language Education of New Mexico

This collaborative approach to research enables REL Southwest to tap into alliance members' expertise and their knowledge of the state's most pressing education needs. At the same time, the partnership is strengthening connections between researchers, academics, and state and local policymakers and educators who can apply the research and help publicize the findings.

"Having people with that kind of background and that kind of experience and that kind of commitment to New Mexico students, families, and educators is really what makes [the alliance] strong."

— Alliance member Cynthia Gustke, Senior Associate, Center for the
Education and Study of Diverse Populations, New Mexico Highlands University

The New Mexico Achievement Gap Research Alliance is one of eight alliances that REL Southwest maintains. All 10 regional educational laboratories (RELs) work through such alliances to partner with school districts, state departments of education, and others to conduct research. In addition, the RELs work to build the capacity of state and local educators and policymakers to use research evidence and data, such as state longitudinal databases, to develop, pilot, implement, and evaluate programs and initiatives, with the ultimate goal of improving academic outcomes for all students.