Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Systems Improvement Science

Committee Chair/Advisor

Hans Klar

Committee Member

Lee D'Andrea

Committee Member

Barbara Nesbitt

Committee Member

Noelle Paufler


Educational policy, technology, and data now converge to establish a new educational leadership concept, data democracies. The movement away from a few technically skilled staff as gatekeepers of all things data is quickly accelerating. The emergence of data democracies represents a significant paradigm shift in education, necessitating a corresponding response from educational leaders and their training systems. Leaders must possess high data literacy to effectively interact with data and derive meaningful insights. Additionally, systemic changes are required to foster a cultural shift towards viewing data as a tool for growth rather than punishment. However, the existing body of research in this area is limited.

This study investigates the impact of an instructional intervention that integrates data-specific topics with leadership theory to enhance participants' data literacy skills and their ability to lead data democracies. Operational definitions for data literacy and data democracies in education were developed, and data-specific topics were integrated into a graduate-level leadership course. Feedback from semi-structured interviews indicates positive assessments in four out of five categories of professional development evaluation. Although the intervention enhanced participants' understanding of data's significance and the role of data democracies in educational leadership, there was no statistically significant evidence of improvement in the assessed data literacy competencies.

Further research with larger sample sizes is needed to understand the reasons behind the absence of significant evidence. The findings of this study will inform curriculum design in educational leader preparation programs and provide a framework for practitioners to embrace the potential of data democracies for continuous improvement.



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