This is a review of three years of collaborative work on embedding systemic assessment and reflection into reform efforts through the Taking Stock/Making Change initiative. TS/MC was a partnership between the Philadelphia School District and the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education designed to support schools as they move towards school-based management and shared decision-making. This article, published in the Summer 1996 issue of Theory Into Practice, focuses on how applying ethnographic methods to the assessment of school change efforts provided new perspectives on collaboration. Two TS/MC schools are described in detail as case studies of this process. The authors report that connecting the research process to decision-making and action was a challenge in each school. Finally, they offer general impressions regarding collaborative action research.