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NSF Education Data Analytics Collaborative Workshop: How Educators and Data Scientists Meet and Create Data Visualizations

On December 5 and 6 of 2019, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Education Data Analytics Collaborative Workshop was held at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. Approximately 80 educators, administrators, data scientists and education researchers from New York and beyond gathered for a two-day workshop. This workshop was a part of the final phase of the collaborative NSF funded research project (NSF #1560720) "Building Community and Capacity for Data-Intensive Evidence-Based Decision Making in Schools and Districts", which is a collaborative partnership on data use and evidence-based improvement cycles in collaboration with Nassau County Long Island BOCES (Nassau BOCES) and their 56 school districts in Nassau County Long Island New York.

Monday, Jun. 1. 2020

Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) Area Under the Curve (AUC): A Diagnostic Measure for Evaluating the Accuracy of Predictors of Education Outcomes

In the education domain, it has become increasingly popular for researchers to use Early Warning Systems (EWS) and Early Warning Indicators (EWI) to predict student outcomes such as high school dropout, college enrollment, STEM degrees, and STEM careers. To see whether the EWS and EWI work well in making these predictions, educational researchers tend to use statistical significance to examine each predictor. However, statistical significance ignores the accuracy, or the duality of sensitivity and specificity, of the predictors. To overcome this problem, Alex J. Bowers and Xiaoliang Zhou (2019) showed the usefulness of ROC AUC in evaluating the accuracy of EWS and EWI indicators of education outcomes.

Tuesday, May. 14. 2019

Education Leadership Data Analytics (ELDA) Summit 2018

In June of 2018, over 100 participants attended the Education Leadership Data Analytics (ELDA) Summit at Teachers College, Columbia University, including educators, researchers, policymakers, and funders. The work of the domain of Education Leadership Data Analytics (ELDA) is situated at the intersection of the three areas of 1) education leadership, 2) evidence-based improvement cycles, and 3) data science. 

Friday, May. 10. 2019

Identifying “Outperforming” School Districts in Ohio and Texas Over the Long-Term – A Complement to Current State Accountability Systems

Since the authorization of No Child Left Behind policy in 2002, an increasing number of states began to provide designation letters such as A, B, C, D to evaluate school and school districts based on students’ performance on standardized test scores. Such designation letters not only provide information for multiple stakeholders on how school districts perform within a state for a given year but also allow researchers and practitioners to identify “outperforming” school districts for further in-depth qualitative studies to generalize successful leadership practice. However, this method has been critiqued historically for not considering school district contextual or demographic effects on students’ achievement test scores. Evaluating school district effectiveness based on single-year performance has been criticized as “snapshot” research without considering a school district’s capacity for achievement growth over time. In the recently published chapter in the book Leading Holistically: How Schools, Districts, and States Improve Systemically, Alex J. Bowers, Xinyu Ni and Jennifer Esswein addressed the above critiques through applying hierarchical linear growth modelling to all school districts in the states of Ohio and Texas to identify districts that significantly outperform or underperform their contexts, demographics, and resources based on their seven-year longitudinal performance.

Wednesday, Feb. 6. 2019

Data Analytics and Decision-making in Education: Towards the Educational Data Scientist as a Key Actor in Schools and Higher Education Institutions

In the recently published chapter in the book Handbook of Contemporary Education Economics (Open Access Version), Tommaso Agasisti and Alex J. Bowers outline the importance of using data that are increasingly available to guide decision-making in education institutions, ranging from the federal and state policies at the system level to pedagogical and instructional decisions in schools and classrooms.

Tuesday, Jul. 10. 2018

Perspectives on Learning Analytics Goes to School: A Collaborative Approach to Improving Education

The prevailing use of technology in education has significantly changed how data are collected and analyzed in schools and universities in recent years. With the emergence of new forms of data, such as system log data (i.e., records of users’ interactions with a digital learning environment), researchers are more and more likely to collect rich, longitudinal information for all individuals and apply advanced analytical techniques, such as data mining and learning analytics, to assess the challenges, identify the problems and provide evidence to guide decision-making.

Thursday, Jun. 7. 2018

Leading with Evidence in Schools: Data and Research Literacy

Hello Friends:

I'm super excited to announce that Teachers College, Columbia University and I have launched for registration and enrollment a new online course titled Leading with Evidence in Schools: Data and Research Literacy. The course will run from July 9 to August 5, 2018, is open globally to anyone who wishes to register, will take about 20 hours total (5 hours per week) and costs $595 per person. Full details on the course can be found on the course's main page here:


Monday, Feb. 19. 2018

What Influences Principals’ Perceptions of Academic Climate?

Researchers have argued that academic climate, which refers to the shared perceptions of behavior around instruction, leadership, and the morale of the teachers and students, mediates the influence of the principal on student achievement. However, few studies have focused on the factors associated with the principals’ perceptions of academic climate. Knowing which factors of principal influence, assessment, and relationships increase a positive view of academic climate may provide school leaders, district administrators, and policymakers with further guidance on how to support principals in leading successful schools through the development of stronger academic climates.

Monday, Jan. 29. 2018

Principal effects association with growth in school proficiency over time: An example from Illinois.

‌Principals are stakeholders for improving teaching and learning in schools and must envision academic success for all students. Based on previous empirical studies, there currently is a lack of research showing a relationship between principal factors, such as training and experience, and student achievement. However, of the studies to date, many have conducted their investigations of principal effects through OLS (Ordinary Least Squares) or HLM (Hierarchical Linear Modeling) regression, two types of inferential statistics that attempt to fit a sample to a single “best fit” line. ‌

Monday, Nov. 20. 2017

Two Types of Students Who Drop Out of Schools

In the US, students dropping out of high school is an important issue, as failing to graduate is linked to multiple problematic life outcomes, such as unemployment, lower living standards, health hazards, and shorter lives. Dropping out is especially severe in large urban schools where up to one fifth to half of the students leave secondary school before they formally complete their education...

Tuesday, Nov. 15. 2016

Why An HSI: Top Reasons Students Choose Hispanic Serving Institutions

Every student has a rationale for applying to and ultimately attending their college of choice.  Some students choose state schools because they want a great football experience. Others want a more personal experience; therefore, they chose small private schools. Many Hispanic students in the United States ultimately make the decision to attend Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). HSIs are defined as two-year and four-year colleges in which 25% or more of the undergraduates identify as Hispanic....

Saturday, Oct. 29. 2016

Which School Districts are Significantly Effective?

A question often asked is “is my school district good?” Parents look for homes in “good” school districts, schoolteachers and administrators may want jobs in “good” school districts, and district employees may want to model their operations on the operations of other “good” school districts. Education researchers are also interested in identifying “good” school districts. There is a growing body of “district effectiveness research,” which studies the operations of school districts to identify practices that promote success in schools, such as providing sustained professional development...

Friday, Sep. 23. 2016

Reading the Whole Story that Data Want to Tell

Recent education leadership research has shown that the emerging domain of data driven decision making (3DM) helps practitioners, researchers and policymakers use data already collected in schools to make more effective education and resource allocation decisions. The success of the 3DM strategy depends on not only the quality of data collection but the way to interpret the results....

Thursday, Aug. 25. 2016