This year’s conference theme, "Strength in Numbers," is a celebration of a decade of data-informed progress from across our network and an opportunity to discuss our future direction. Join us for our 10th-anniversary celebration. We will look back at the evidence-informed progress we’ve made as a sector but also look forward to the pressing issues of the day. This year the event will take place at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, MA from May 20–22, 2019. 

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Rethinking Research [clear filter]
Tuesday, May 21

9:30am EDT

Nudging Parents to Choose Better Schools: How Information Design Drives Action
Limited Capacity seats available

Researchers and policymakers examining school choice often assume that parents have well-ordered and stable preferences when it comes to their most important decisions, including where to send their children for school. A common assumption is that parents will be able to make the “correct” choice as long as they have access to complete information through school finders or “school shopping websites” (e.g., Levin 2002). But preferences may be more malleable than many assume, and parents might be influenced by the intentional or unintentional decisions that designers make about how to present information—how much detail to include, what attributes to describe, how to format the data shown for each attribute, and how to sort the options.
In this session, participants will engage with the findings of a study examining how various information displays changed parents’ decisions about which school they’d prefer for their children, and in some cases also affected the extent to which parents could easily understand information about schools and have a satisfying experience using each school shopping website. After hearing about how design choices can meaningfully increase the weight parents place on academic quality when selecting a school (compared to other attributes, such as a school’s distance from home), attendees will examine their own school guides and unpack how relatively simple and inexpensive design choices can produce meaningful changes in how parents interpret, process and use information about schools.
To prepare for this session, please submit an example of a local school guide here. This could be from a public agency, or a private resource like U.S. News & World Report.


Ira Nichols-Barrer

Senior Researcher, Mathematica Policy Research
I study the effectiveness of school choice policies and programs (charter schools, magnet schools, and how parents make decisions about schools). I'll be presenting the results of a new study examining how school information guides can help nudge parents to make better school cho... Read More →

Tuesday May 21, 2019 9:30am - 10:45am EDT
Longfellow A, First Floor Charles Hotel (1 Bennett St, Cambridge, MA, USA)

2:30pm EDT

Creating a Culture of Inquiry and Continuous Improvement
Limited Capacity filling up

Creating cultures of continuous improvement is no easy feat. This session will focus on three case studies that present strategies for shifting mindsets and building data culture. First, Kevin Hoffman from Aspire Public Schools will share Aspire’s efforts to become a learning organization steeped in inquiry by using the framework in Learning to Improve. Next, Kristen Rohanna from the UCLA Partner School Network will share how they strategically encourage teachers in their network to collect asset-based student data for their disciplined inquiry work. The purpose of these data is to shift educator mindsets around what it means to engage students in mathematics. Finally, Karen Tzong and Sharon Bi from Santa Ana Unified School District will share their low-lift strategy “Data Espressos” to engage stakeholders in data inquiry and initiate changes in their agency.

avatar for Sharon Bi

Sharon Bi

Assistant Director, Santa Ana Unified School District
Sharon Bi is the Assistant Director of Research and Evaluation in the Santa Ana Unified School District. She worked as the Educational Research Analyst in the Santa Ana Unified School District and as a Program Manager/Specialist at the Orange County Department of Education.Sharon... Read More →

Karen Tzong

Research Analyst, Santa Ana Unified School District
avatar for Kevin Hoffman

Kevin Hoffman

Associate Manager of Innovative Learning, Aspire Public Schools
I'm passionate about how technology and local innovation can transform teaching and learning to make school more rigorous, relevant, and effective for all students. As a former Algebra 1 teacher, I'm also partial to conversations around high school math instruction. I'm thrilled to... Read More →

Kristen Rohanna

Adjunct Faculty, UCLA
Former SDP data fellow and served as manager for research and evaluation for San Jose Unified School District. Currently leading the UCLA Partner School Networked Improvement Community. Also evaluate education programs through UCLA and independent consulting.

Tuesday May 21, 2019 2:30pm - 3:45pm EDT
Kennedy A, First Floor Charles Hotel (1 Bennett St, Cambridge, MA, USA)
Wednesday, May 22

10:15am EDT

Strength in Failure: A candid conversation about research & analysis that never saw the light of day
Limited Capacity full
Adding this to your schedule will put you on the waitlist.

Join SDP Alumni for a critical conversations session about studies, analyses, and experiments that failed to create usable data, were never conducted, were never presented due to organizational or political pressure, or evolved into a completely different study. Rarely do we talk candidly about all the times we failed, and how we overcame barriers to better use data to inform policy and practice. At SDP’s 10th Anniversary, there is no better time to bring forward some of these "failures" and talk about how they resulted in new learnings, generated new practices, and spurred new research. Attendees will leave the session with examples of “failures” across five agencies that resulted in new research or policies that moved the conversation forward. The presenters will share their experiences of how they created action from failure, and how it catalyzed later success. This discussion will highlight strategies for advancing rigorous data analysis to improve the quality of decision-making in educational agencies. This session seeks to leave the attendee with a greater understanding of how the research process unfolds, and how unexpected roadblocks can result in stronger results down the line. The audience will be given time to reflect on their own challenges, brainstorm strategies to work around barriers, and develop next steps for addressing similar challenges in their agencies, in addition to having ample time to ask and answer questions.

avatar for Tom Hay

Tom Hay

Academy Director, ConsenSys
I'm Director of ConsenSys Academy. We build educational products to teach about the blockchain. Former Director of Data Strategy @ Uplift Education, former Associate @ Booz Allen Hamilton. SDP Alumni - Cohort 6.
avatar for Carrie Conaway

Carrie Conaway

Chief Strategy and Research Officer, MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education
avatar for Cara Jackson

Cara Jackson

Senior Associate, Abt Associates
Cara is a senior associate in the Social & Economic Policy division at Abt Associates, focusing on program evaluation, research design, and evidence synthesis. She is currently managing a national evaluation of one of the U.S. Department of Education's technical assistance programs... Read More →
avatar for Matt Lenard

Matt Lenard

Matt Lenard is a Ph.D. student in Education Policy and Program Evaluation at Harvard University. His primary research in, Harvard Graduate School of Education
avatar for Matt Linick

Matt Linick

Sr. Researcher, AIR

Wednesday May 22, 2019 10:15am - 11:30am EDT
Kennedy A, First Floor Charles Hotel (1 Bennett St, Cambridge, MA, USA)