Research News

Halverson article picked for Journal of School Leadership’s 25th anniversary issue

April 01, 2015

A research paper co-authored by UW-Madison’s Richard Halverson has been chosen for the Journal of School Leadership’s 25th anniversary special issue.

Halverson’s paper, “The New Instructional Leadership: Creating Data-Driven Instructional Systems in Schools,” originally was published in the Journal of School Leadership in 2007. In commemoration of the journal’s anniversary, its former editors selected articles that best captured the theory, empirical research and practice critical to their time, and then considered their implications on modern-day systems and scholarship.

Richard Halverson
Reid Prichett, Jeffrey Grigg and Chris Thomas -– all members of UW-Madison’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the time -– were Halverson’s co-authors on the paper, which reported on a Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) study that examined how educators use data to improve teaching and learning. (The group produced a 2005 WCER working paper as a draft of the 2007 JLS article.)

The paper profiled the practices in four high-performing schools to identify common data-driven practices that included identifying relevant data; setting goals for improvement; using the data to align the instructional program; designing instructional innovations; setting up formative feedback cycles to determine the quality of local innovations; and preparing students to engage in testing.  Halverson and his colleagues found that leaders acted as data gatekeepers to reduce the amount of information processed by teachers, and that the responsibilities for coordinating data use are stretched across leaders in schools. 

Halverson’s work seeks to integrate how classical ideas of wisdom and practical knowledge can be used to understand the complex work of contemporary school leaders. He has developed research methods and theoretical frameworks to access, document and communicate the expertise of school leaders.

He is a professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis in the UW-Madison School of Education. He co-directs the Wisconsin Collaborative Education Research Network, and co-founded and has co-directed the Games, Learning and Society Research Center. He also is a faculty affiliate with the departments of Curriculum and Instruction, and Educational Psychology.

The Journal of School Leadership's anniversary special issue will be published in May.