Leading with Evidence in Schools | Teachers College Columbia University

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Leading with Evidence in Schools: Data and Research Literacy

November 5, 2018 - December 2, 2018

Where: Online asynchronous course

Registration Fee: $595

Group/Team Discount (5 or more):
25% off the registration fee, please contact cps@tc.columbia.edu to register

Units Awarded:
Participants receive 2 CEUs OR 20 clock hours OR 20 CTLEs (applicable only to NYS residents).

Schools today are awash in data, from grades, to test scores, to discipline reports and attendance to name just a few. Additionally, educators around the world are continually urged to use evidence and best practices around “what works” to inform their decisions in schools. But how are teachers and school leaders to know which forms of data and assessments are most useful to their practice in their schools with their students? How do you find evidence on interventions that not only work, but will work for your teachers and for your students? And how can teachers and school leaders best make sense of the data in schools to bring educators together around the data and assessments that matter most to your school to help build capacity, trust, and collaboration around using evidence together in schools for instructional improvement?

Come join us in this four-week interactive online course to learn how to turn data into evidence-based decisions in schools.

  • 4-week duration
  • 20 hours total time commitment
  • Opportunities to engage with like-minded teachers and leaders on structured discussion boards
  • Weekly Quizzes to check for understanding
  • An optional integrated project

Taking this class will help you:

  • Pinpoint data to measure progress
  • Choose appropriate and reliable assessments to gauge achievement
  • Identify research-based best practices that will work for your students
  • Build you team’s capacity, collaboration and trust to use evidence and research to shape improvement strategies

The course is taught by Teachers College, Columbia University Professor Alex J. Bowers, who is a leading expert in data and evidence use in schools, data driven decision making, and education leadership data analytics.

During this course you will network with other like-minded educators who are interested in building their skills in data, assessment and research literacy, through learning together using videos, readings, quizzes, and a writing assignment in which you find, critique and apply an intervention to your school.

Educators in New York State may be eligible to have part of their registration fee reimbursed thanks to a collaboration with Ulster BOCES. This support is provided to districts that belong to ANY BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) in New York State (not just Ulster BOCES).
Click here to register through Ulster BOCES.

Who Should Participate?

This course is designed for current or aspiring teachers, school leaders, and district or state leaders globally who are looking to enhance and hone their skills and capacity around data and evidence use for improving instruction in their schools.

Teams of teachers or schools looking to learn together for their professional development around building their skills for evidence use in their schools are also encouraged to enroll (school teams can be matched within the course upon request).

Additionally, for teachers and school leaders looking for a bridge between their undergraduate or graduate education and additional advanced degrees, this course can provide a bridge for students looking to deepen their practice in evidence use as they prepare to apply to a graduate school program, with a special emphasis on work in the United States.

There are no prerequisites for taking this course.

Course Outline

This course is designed to take students on average five hours per week for four weeks.

Week 1: Introduction to Leading with Evidence in Schools

Course Materials: Readings, Videos, Brief Check-for-Understanding Quizzes

Assessment: 3 page paper that integrates the first readings and videos with your current issues in your school.

Week 2: Data Literacy and Assessment Literacy – Validity and Reliability for Testing

Course Materials: Readings, Videos, Brief Check-for-Understanding Quizzes

Assessment: Online quiz and structured written discussion topics online with teams of like-minded teachers and leaders

Week 3: Research Literacy – Validity and Reliability for Research

Course Materials: Readings, Videos, Brief Check-for-Understanding Quizzes

Assessment: Structured written discussion topics online with teams of like-minded teachers and leaders

Week 4: Bringing it all together – How to Find, Critique, Apply and Assess Interventions That Work in Your School

Course Materials: Readings, Videos, Brief Check-for-Understanding Quizzes

Assessment: Structured written discussion topics online with teams of like-minded teachers and leaders.

Optional Stretch-Goal Final Assessment: Critiquing and applying what works to your school (5 page paper)

Teaching Team


Alex J. Bowers

Associate Professor of Education Leadership
Teachers College, Columbia University

Email: bowers@tc.columbia.edu

Twitter: @Alex_J_Bowers

Website:  http://www.tc.columbia.edu/faculty/ab3764

Alex J. Bowers is an Associate Professor of Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York City, where he works to help school leaders use the data that they already collect in schools in more effective ways to help direct the limited resources of schools and districts to specific student needs. His research focuses on the intersection of effective school and district leadership, organization and human capital resources, data driven decision making, student grades and test scores, student persistence and dropouts. His work also considers the influence of school finance, facilities, and technology on student achievement. Dr. Bowers studies these domains through the application of Intensive Longitudinal Data analysis (ILD), data science, and “Big Data” analytics, such as data visualization analytics, multilevel and growth mixture modeling, and cluster analysis heatmap data dashboards. He earned his Ph.D. in K12 Educational Administration from Michigan State University, and previous to teaching and education research, spent a decade as a cancer researcher in the biotechnology industry, with a M.S. in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology, and a B.S. in Biochemistry.

Course coordinator

Yilin Pan

Post-doctoral Researcher
Education Leadership Data Analytics Research Team &
Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education
Teachers College, Columbia University

Email: pan@tc.columbia.edu

Twitter: @YilinPan

Website:  http://www.tc.columbia.edu/elda/team

Yilin Pan is currently a post-doctoral researcher jointly hired by the Department of Educational Policy and Social Analysis and the Department of Organization Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. She specializes in cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis, decision-making in resource allocation and Bayesian statistics. Dr. Pan’s research aims to facilitate the utilization of research evidence to better guide policymakers and practitioners' decision-making about resource allocation. She has been working on applying Bayesian statistics to improve the methodologies that generate research evidence. Her attempts focus on localizing evidence of program effectiveness and cost obtained from evaluation settings to reflect the student and teacher characteristics of a specific decision-making setting, the subjective judgments of the local decision makers and the values of the local stakeholders. Yilin Pan earned a Ph.D. in Economics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, a M.A. in Higher Education and a B.A. in English Literature and Linguistics at Tsinghua University, P. R. China. Prior to her current job, she worked as a consultant at the World Bank's education sector.


Units awarded

Participants who successfully fulfill the course requirements will receive

  • 1) 2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) OR 20 clock hours OR 20 CTLEs (applicable only to NYS residents);
  • 2) and a Digital Badge.

Course requirements include:

  • Watching all the lecture videos;
  • Completing at least 4 out of the 5 assessments
    • A 3-page Reflection and Visioning Paper that integrates the first week readings and videos with your current issues in your school;
    • An online quiz completed with 80% correct (may retake);
    • Three online written structured discussion board assignments with teams of like-minded teachers and leaders.
  • Submitting the overall course feedback survey.

This course does not carry Teachers College or Columbia University credits or grades.

Note: Any attendee who is taking this course for CTLE credit for NY State must enter their name exactly as it appears on the TEACH website in accordance with NYSED requirements.


For individual registration, please click the “Register” button above.

Group registration (5 or more people) will receive 25% discount. Please contact cps@tc.columbia.edu to register.

Registration for this course is available to ALL component districts of any New York State BOCES through Ulster BOCES Mid-Hudson Leadership Institute. Click here to register through Ulster BOCES. BOCES aid is available for all component districts across New York State.

Cancellation Policy:

Continuing Professional Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University will provide a full (100%) reduction of charges if the written request to withdraw is received at least 30 days prior to the first scheduled session. Given the demand for this program and the work entailed in its preparation, if the cancellation is reported within 30 days or fewer before the program starts, only 50% of the total charges will be credited. Registrants who wish to withdraw on or after the start date of a program or course will not receive any reduction of charges.

Registrants who fail to attend and do not cancel prior to the event will be liable for full charges for the event.

NOTE: All refund requests must be made in writing to the Continuing Professional Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Refunds will be made in the payment method received. Please allow 4-6 weeks for check refunds to be processed and 3-5 days for credit card refunds.

Mark Chenault
Assistant Principal, Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School

“Dr. Bowers explains the material well...I did gain a better understanding of how to conduct a valuable research project in school.”

---- Associate Principal, suburban high school

“I especially liked the videos for the deep dive they provided and Dr. Bowers’ novel approach for data usage and its implications as a way to essentially build relationships.”

--- Assistant Principal, urban transfer school

“The instructor gave clear and helpful examples to help clarify the more challenging concepts in the course.”

---- Teacher, urban middle and high school

“The whole course was laid out very well.”

--- Intervention Specialist, independent school

“Prof. Bowers’ lectures are engaging and clear. Some humor helps - and Prof. Bowers does add that into the lectures, which makes it "easy" to watch.

---- Associate Principal, independent school

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