We have developed findings in five research areas:
A model for systemic data-driven instructional capacity within schools. Our model organizes previously fragmented activities into a coherent set of organizational functions through which information about student learning can flow;
Social network measures of school leadership efficacy. Our survey findings analyze how leaders allocate resources in the form of roles and programs to facilitate data exchange in schools. Network surveys allow us to measure the degree to which information flows across the school and to determine which local actors serve as information hubs within the school;
Formative Feedback Systems. We found tight, designed information loops at the heart of efforts to intentionally change and measure student learning. These formative feedback systems place staff at the center of a loop composed of interventions, artifacts and actuation spaces (legitimate opportunities for staff to make sense of and take action upon assessment information). We argue that such formative feedback systems are at the heart of school reform activities.
Student services staff and data-driven instructional capacity. We found that existing models of individualizing student learning, originally developed in special education, serve as powerful organizing principles for how schools use data to address student learning needs. We found that the practices of special educators were used to structure these non-special education plans, and that the school psychologists and social workers were increasing pressed to serve as assessment experts (because of their data expertise) rather than focus on their counseling roles for students.
Subject matter focus. The policy press to improve literacy development, especially at the elementary school level, created pressure in schools to collapse science and social studies curriculum into occasions for content-area reading skill development. This left the exploratory aspects of science and social studies investigation a relatively ignored aspect of the school instructional program.
Publications & Presentations:
PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS AND BOOK CHAPTERS:
Halverson, R. (under review). “School formative feedback systems.” Peabody Journal of Education.
Halverson, R., Grigg, J., Prichett, R. & Thomas, C. (under review). “Data-driven instructional systems: A model for understanding school capacity to meet high-stakes accountability policies.” Die Deutsche Schule.
Halverson, R., Feinstein, N. & Meshoulam, D. (under review). “School leadership for science education.” In G. DeBoer (Ed.) Handbook of Research in Science Education. Information Age Press: Charlotte, NC.
Halverson, R., Wolfenstein, M., Williams, C. & Rockman, C. (in press) “Remembering math: The design of digital learning objects to spark professional learning” E-Learning.
Halverson, R. (2008) “A distributed leadership perspective on how leaders use artifacts to create professional community in schools.” In L. Stoll and K. S. Louis (Eds.) Professional learning communities: Divergence, detail and difficulties. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Halverson, R. & Thomas, C. (2008) “The roles and practices of student services staff as data-driven instructional leaders.” In M. Mangin and S. Stoelinga (Eds.) Instructional teachers leadership roles: Using research to inform and reform. Teachers College Press: New York.
Prichett, R. (2007). How school leaders make sense of and use formative feedback systems. Unpublished dissertation: University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education.
Thomas, C. (2007) Problem-solving teams and data-driven school leadership: A path toward the next generation of special education services. Unpublished dissertation: University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education.
A key part of the second phase of the study was to develop digital technologies that would communicate the findings of the DDIS study and to guide local practitioners in the best practices we have discovered in our investigation. We have developed a Teacher Evaluation Game (http://slg.gameslearningsociety.org/index.php) to guide leaders to recognize quality teaching practices; a set of learning objects (http://www.slg.gameslearningsociety.org/cesa_files/cesa.php) to guide experienced teachers to remember the math they had once learned; and the KidGrid project, a iPod Touch based application designed to facilitate teacher collection of formative feedback information on student learning.