Schools and districts are awash in data, from more traditional data sources such as test scores, grades, attendance, discipline reports and surveys, to more recent innovations such as intelligent tutoring computer systems, computer interaction logfile data, and multimodal instrumented instructional spaces. Education Leadership Data Analytics (ELDA) helps school leaders make sense of the data that are collected on students and schools on a daily basis through applying current big data, data mining, and data science analytic techniques to educational issues that are important to teachers, principals, superintendents, parents, and most importantly, students. By identifying and visualizing the previously unknown patterns in the data, Education Leadership Data Analytics helps school leaders use more rich and contextualized data to inform evidence-based improvement cycles with their teachers and students as they make decisions on how to leverage the limited resources of schools to address specific student needs. Our team at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City uses current big data visual analytics across multiple types of data-intensive questions in our research.

In 2018, we were joined by over 100 data scientists, educators, and school system leaders for the first ELDA Summit (#ELDASummit18), held at Teachers College, Columbia University, to discuss the issues central to the intersection of Education Leadership, Evidence-Based Improvement Cycles, and Data Science and Data Analytics. Through the work of the ELDA Summit a definition for Education Leadership Data Analytics is:

Education Leadership Data Analytics (ELDA) practitioners work collaboratively with schooling system leaders and teachers to analyze, pattern, and visualize previously unknown patterns and information from the vast sets of data collected by schooling organizations, and then integrate findings in easy to understand language and digital tools into collaborative and communitybuilding evidence-based improvement cycles with stakeholders.

For more details, full results of the summit were published in 2019 in a white paper report:


Alex J. Bowers, Ph.D.

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