Leading with Evidence in Schools

Leading with Evidence in Schools: Data and Research Literacy

July 10, 2023 — August 6, 2023
Leading with Evidence in Schools: Data and Research Literacy

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

School administrators and educators employed by the New York City Department of Education are eligible for individual discounts of 25%. Please contact cps@tc.columbia.edu for more information.

Units Awarded:
Participants receive 20 Clock Hours, 20 CTLEs (applicable only to NYS residents) and a digital badge.

Program Description:

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 your 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.

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.

Watch the first video for the course here for free:

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 smiling


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.

sarah smiling

Teaching Assistant

Sarah Weeks

PhD student in Education Leadership
Teachers College, Columbia University

Email: sew2003@tc.columbia.edu

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

Sarah Weeks is a Ph.D. student in the Education Leadership program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Sarah’s interests include how teachers, students and school leaders use of student learning assessments and other data sources inform classroom and school improvement efforts. She is particularly interested in the impact of increasing teacher and school leader capacity in the use of student-centered assessment, personalized learning and mastery-based learning practices on equity and the role of student and teacher voice in curriculum and assessment design and implementation. During the 2018-19 academic year, Sarah is also a Doctoral Research Fellow in the Education Leadership Data Analytics Research Group working on Professor Bower’s National Science Foundation funded project, Building Community and Capacity for Data-Intensive Evidence-Based Decision Making in Schools and Districts. Prior to beginning her doctoral work, Sarah spent 17 years working in public and independent schools in New York and New Jersey as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, district leader and consultant. She holds a BA in Architecture from Yale University, a MA in Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies from Stanford University, and a MSEd in Educational Administration and Supervision from Pace University/New Leaders for New Schools.


Units awarded

Participants who successfully fulfill the course requirements will receive

  • 1) 20 Clock Hours and 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.

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

“This course would be very valuable for someone who is just starting to learn about education research and data. I can see this as a valuable use of time and PD monies for all of my faculty so we all have the same foundational knowledge and can use the same language in discussions.”

---- Vice President for Academic Affairs at an
independent middle school in the Northeast

“I found all of the materials extremely valuable. Quite frankly, I learned more during the four weeks in this course than I did during an entire semester of blended learning at a prominent four-year/graduate level institution in my state. The education I received there is excellent, but the material in this "short" course was more applicable to my current goals of expanding my role.”

---- Retired teacher and Educational Consultant
at an independent high school in the Northeast

“I took this course because my school has a lot of data and really doesn't know what to do from here. I really enjoyed the course and believe that it will be very helpful to me and my colleagues as we try to move toward using evidence-based cycles in our school.”

---- Department Chair at the Middle Division
of a Charter school in the Northeast

“Prof Bowers gave some excellent prompts to teacher and administrator audiences to relate what they were hearing to their contexts, asking what point of the data use cycle they're at, what sorts of assessments they're using, and advising on approaches to take with curriculum/ed-tech vendors.”

---- Program Analyst at a private foundation in education

“Prof. Bowers gave us a number of ways to interact with the content. We had the readings, the lecture videos, the slides, and the transcripts. He was also often able to introduce a lot of scholarly language or concepts in a way that made them feel familiar (even though they were mostly brand new to me).”

---- Teacher at a public elementary school in the Northeast

“Dr. Bowers clarified the technical language into language and explanations that made sense to one that is learning the material for the first time.”

---- A high school teacher in a suburban school district in the Northeast

“Dr. Bowers explains the material well, and used good examples to bring clarity to the more difficult concepts.”

---- Associate Principal in a suburban high school

“From the beginning to the end, everything was very well organized by the instructor Dr. Bowers. Theoretical knowledge and practical examples were balanced. He helped us to have theoretical knowledge and also have a practical understanding. After reading to the point readings, videos gave us the ability to understand them easily. Dr. Bowers was very successful in explaining the subject to the people who have less knowledge or are too advanced for the subject.”

---- PhD student in Education Sciences

“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 in an independent school

“I appreciated each video and the transcripts provided from each video. I also appreciated that the instructor gave clear and helpful examples to help clarify the more challenging concepts in the course.”

---- Teacher in a urban middle and high school

“I enjoyed the discussion boards. I enjoyed hearing for those not in my area and that I am not alone in the struggle to incorporate valuable data to my district.”

---- A high school teacher in a suburban school district in the Northeast

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