Leading with Evidence in Schools: Data and Research Literacy | Teachers College Columbia University

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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: www.tc.edu/cps/Evidence


Currently in K-12 education, there is a strong need in the field across schools for teachers and administrators to build capacity around evidence use and evidence-based improvement cycles to help inform decision making and instructional improvement. Through my research projects, courses I teach here at Columbia, and the many teachers and school and district leaders who I work with tell me continually that we need more opportunities for educators to learn and think deeply together about issues of data and evidence use in schools. I've worked to put together an online offering that would help provide professional development to interested teachers, school leaders, and district central office staff on the current research and practice on applying evidence use to school improvement. Our thinking is that offering a non-credit “CEU” (Continuing Education Unit) online course in the summer was a really attractive way to go as it allows educators to work at their own pace over a four week course in the summer, and with an asynchronous online delivery makes it easy for participants to attend each week.


I've built this course in part to help address the need that educators have articulated to me from across the US and globally. This online non-credit CEU course will include videos, readings, and discussions that help teachers and school and district leaders consider evidence and data in more meaningful ways. Specifically, the course will focus on data and research literacy, will train participants in assessment and research literacy to be able to tell what is a valid and reliable test or research study, and then they will learn together how to find, critique, and apply current research evidence to their issues in their schools. This online offering is adapted from one module from one of my courses here at Teachers College, Columbia University from the Ecology of Data Driven Decision Making course, in which I train 60+ masters students in the summer each year who are aspiring principals to use evidence to help inform their instructional improvement cycles.


The video on the main page covers (www.tc.edu/cps/Evidence) the central concepts that we'll go more in-depth on throughout the class, and there are more specifics on the week-by-week content in the tabs on the main page. Overall the course is designed to be an introduction to evidence use, validity and reliability for teachers and school leaders who are interested in building and deepening their skills in this area, or teams from schools and districts who wish to work together to deepen their practice in this area.


Additionally, I see this course as being a bridge for aspiring graduate students to any college of education to help deepen and inform their skills as they transition from their undergraduate work to graduate studies. Imagine in an application letter for a masters or graduate program saying that you have this training in data use and have real examples of how bringing teachers and school leaders together around evidence and research use works in real schools.


In addition, I'm super excited that for the class, after the first week, participants in the course will write a brief goals paper after completing the first readings and watching the first week of videos. In this brief participants in the course will write about their current work and the work of their schools around evidence use and instructional improvement cycles, and what matters for the issues that are a central concern for their school and their students. Then, we will then match participants into small discussion board groups (around 10 people) for further networking and collaboration based on the similarities and issues you see in your schools, and the issues you want to address for your students. Through this networking opportunity, participants engage with educators from across the US and globally who share similar concerns and issues and are looking to build their capacity in their school around data and evidence to inform instructional improvement. For the final assignment participants will work together in their matched teams on the discussion boards through an engaging and structured protocol to find actionable research-based valid and reliable interventions that will work for their students in their schools around central issues about evidence that they all share.


Of course, if schools or districts would like participants matched in teams based on their schools or district structure (like a data team, or a whole school team for PD),we're happy to do that as well. 


I'm also excited about my teaching team, which includes my post-doc (Yilin Pan) and multiple teaching assistants who are doctoral students here at Teachers College and will help assist with the course.


If you are or know an educator who is looking to deepen their practice around data and evidence, or if you lead a team of educators who could benefit from training together on evidence use in your schools and school systems, I invite you to enroll! www.tc.edu/cps/Evidence


Thank you!

Alex J. Bowers, PhD.