Courses and Materials

Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Professional Education offers a complete suite of on-campus and online courses.
To get started with a free, self-paced 8-hour course, check out
Introduction to Data Wise.

DW Learning Path

The Revised and Expanded Edition of Data Wise: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Assessment Results to Improve Teaching and Learning (Harvard Education Press, 2013) shows how systematic and thoughtful examination of a wide range of data can be a catalyst for important schoolwide dialogue. These conversations can help schools tap into teachers' knowledge, foster collaboration, identify obstacles to change, enhance school culture, and improve student learning.  

Meeting Wise: Making the Most of Collaborative Time for Educators identifies improving meeting agendas as a high-leverage strategy for changing how people work together, and offers tools for developing a common language for discussing and improving the quality of meeting design and the templates to help you get started. It provides tips for setting up, facilitating, and participating effectively in meetings, and supports the reader in developing a strategy for making a fundamental shift in how collaborative time is used.

Explore: Meeting Wise Resources




Portuguese Translation

Data Wise: Guia para o Uso de Evidências na Educação (Grupo A, 2020) Esta obra apresenta um processo de melhoria baseado no uso de evidências com oito passos, divididos em três partes – preparar, investigar e agir – para melhorar o ensino e a aprendizagem. Esse processo foi desenvolvido pelo Projeto Data Wise da Harvard Graduate School of Education e está apoiado também na mudança de hábitos mentais, ou seja, no compromisso compartilhado com ação, avaliação e ajustes, na colaboração intencional e no foco implacável em evidências.



Key Elements of Observing Practice contains a series of short videos that invite you into classrooms and meeting rooms at the Richard J. Murphy School in Boston, a school that uses data wisely. It comes with a Facilitator's Guide that lays out a professional development sequence in which teacher teams use these videos as a springboard for working together to design their own process for learning from classroom observation.

Watch: An interview about the DVD


Data Wise in Action: Stories of Schools Using Data to Improve Teaching and Learning (Harvard Education Press, 2007) focuses on eight very different schools as they integrate the Data Wise Improvement Process into their daily work. It highlights the leadership challenges that schools can face at each step of the process and illustrates how educators use creativity and collaboration to overcome those challenges.


Scaling Up Data Wise in Prince George's County (Harvard Education Press, 2017) describes ambitious efforts to scale a collaborative data-driven improvement process across 199 schools from 2014-2016. It details the strategic choices that Deputy Superintendent Dr. Monique Davis and Executive Director of the Office of Continuous Systemic Improvement Dr. David Rease make to elicit buy-in and support at all levels, the primary challenges they have to overcome, and the ongoing dilemmas they continue to negotiate.

Subject: K-12, Data Use
Setting: Prince George’s County Public Schools in Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Looking at Data Through an Equity Lens
Educator teams need to take a more inquiry-based approach to data analysis to address inequitable norms and patterns.
ASCD, February, 2022

Action Research about Data Wise in an International School in China
This study describes the experiences of teachers during a data-driven inquiry process to improve literacy-related practices.
The Clearing House, April, 2021

The Power of Team Norms
Setting and sticking to norms is a powerful strategy for working for equity.
Educational Leadership, June, 2019

Sustaining a Continuous Improvement Culture in Educator Preparation: A Higher Education Network Based on Data Wise
Supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the educator preparation program at Endicott College integrated the Data Wise Improvement Process into its practice.
Journal of Practitioner Research, January, 2019

Making Teacher Teams Work
To make an impact on learning, teacher data-inquiry teams need the right kinds of support.
Education Leadership, November, 2018

Making Meetings Work
Solutions to the common pitfalls that can sink a meeting — so educators can make the most of their collaborative time
Useable Knowlege, May, 2018

Building Capacity for Improvement
How the McGuffey School District is building skill and will to leverage data in service of student learning
Professional Education, HGSE, 2018

Using Data Wisely at the System Level
Introducing the “Universal Data Wise Improvement Process” and showing what it looks like in action
Phi Delta Kappan, September, 2017

Teaching Educators Habits of Mind for Using Data Wisely
Describing the ways of thinking and being that underlie courses on collaborative data inquiry at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Teachers College Record, May, 2015


Eight Steps to Becoming Data Wise 
Here's how school-based teams get the most out of their data-inquiry meetings
Education Leadership, October, 2015


The Path of Data Wisdom 
Celebrating 10 Years, the Data Wise Project unveils a new portfolio of resources
Harvard Graduate School of Education, April, 2015

Lessons from the Data Wise Project 
Three habits of mind for buidling a collaborative culture
Harvard Education Letter, HGSE May/June, 2013

The “Data Wise” Improvement Process 
Eight steps for using test data to improve teaching and learning 
Harvard Education Letter, HGSE January/February 2006

Leadership Lessons from Schools Becoming "Data Wise" 
Stories of schools using the process
Harvard Education Letter, HGSE January/February 2008 

The Heart of Data Wise 
School Practices that Support the Work of Improvement
Usable Knowledge, HGSE 2009

Why use protocols? 

Protocols can help you and your colleagues cultivate the habit of mind of intentional collaboration.  By offering structure to conversations, protocols allow groups to delve deeply into important issues, make the most of limited time, and ensure that all voices are heard. Some of our favorites include:

Purpose: To allow teams to acknowledge the work they are already doing to use data to improve learning and teaching, to create a sense of coherence between that work and the Data Wise Improvement Process, and to help identify a point of entry into the Data Wise Improvement Process (for use after the Stoplight Protocol)

Constructing the Improvement Process 
Purpose:  To help a group of people come to a common understanding of how they view the improvement process and discover for themselves that improvement processes are not linear and that there is no one “right” way to do it. 

Hopes and Fears 
Purpose: To give participants an opportunity to get expectations and concerns out in the open so that they can begin to establish a group commitment to addressing them.

Inquiring Introductions 
Purpose: To practice skills of inquiry, listening, and responding to evidence. As a side benefit, it also gives members of a team an opportunity to get to know one another. 

Norm Setting 
Purpose: To come to consensus about how a group will work together.

Purpose: To inform participants about the steps of the Data Wise Improvement Process and provide an opportunity for reflection about where a school is with respect to the process using the Data Wise Arrow handout. It also helps participants cultivate the habit of mind of maintaining a relentless focus on evidence.

Great Sources for Protocols

The School Reform Initiative offers an A-Z index of helpful protocols for educators, including protocols for norm-setting and looking at student work. Protocols used frequently in the Data Wise Improvement Process include the Affinity Mapping, Consultancy, and Compass Points protocols. Note that protocol instructions are available in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

The Power of Protocols is a book that presents a strong case for how protocols can transform the way educators collaborate and then provides detailed instructions for facilitating protocols for a wide range of occasions.


Supporting Collective Learning 
The following resources are used in our courses and described in the Data Wise book. 

*Right click and select "save link as" to save each document to your computer.

Assessment Report Scavenger Hunt 
Purpose: To provide a structured way of understanding the attributes of an assessment report so that you can understand how results are reported.

Data Wise Journey Presentation Template 
Purpose: To provide a format for capturing your team's journey through the eight steps of the Data Wise Improvement Process. Why start from scratch when formatting your presentation, when you can use a template that has been field-tested by educators from around the world? There is also a universal version of the Journey Presentation Template which is best for system-level teams. (See Data Wise, p. 215)

Data Wise Arrow Handout 
Purpose: To provide the eight steps of the Data Wise Improvement Process on a single page; useful with the Stoplight Protocol or as a handout or poster. (See Data Wise, p. 5)

Data Wise Arrow Handout in Spanish
Purpose: To provide the eight steps of the Data Wise Improvement Process on a single page; useful with the Stoplight Protocol or as a handout or poster. (See Data Wise, p. 5)
Note: For Spanish transcripts of over 40 Data Wise videos, enroll in the free self-paced online course: Introduction to Data Wise.

Data Display Checklist 
Purpose: To serve as a reminder of how to format your charts so that readers can easily interpret the information they contain. (See Data Wise, p. 82) 

Data Overview Rationale and Checklist
Purpose: To support leaders in thinking deeply about the rationale of a data overview before they make it. (The second page of this document is the Data Display Checklist. See Data Wise, p. 82) 

Meeting Wise Checklist
Purpose:  To encourage you to consider the meeting elements related to purpose, process, preparation and pacing when planning or reflecting on a meeting.

Meeting Wise Agenda Template 
Purpose: To provide an example of how a meeting agenda can be structured to take into account all of the items on the Meeting Wise Checklist. (Meeting Wise Checklist in Spanish)

Meeting Wise Rolling Agenda Template
Purpose: To show how to structure a single shared document that contains all of the agendas for a series of meetings. (For more information about rolling agendas, please see Meeting Wise: Making the Most of Collaborative Time for Educators.)

BPS Inquiry Faciliation Application 
Purpose: This is an application that the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Inquiry Facilitator team created for schools to use when applying to receive focused coaching and support from Inquiry Facilitators.  This application might be useful to you for a similar purpose or, more generally, for explaining and identifying key elements and competencies needed for inquiry.

Fundamentals of Data Wise


Our Introduction to Data Wise video below shows where the Data Wise Improvement Process itself came from; and our ACE Habits of Mind video shows the specific habits of mind that educators cultivate when using the process:


Data Wise in Action


These two videos show facilitators from Prince George's County Public Schools engaging in Step 3 of the Data Wise process:


Data Wise at a System Level


Watch to learn more about how Data Wise can be used at a system level for large scale improvement and collaboration.

Data Wise System