Institute for Leadership in Analytics

The SDP Institute for Leadership in Analytics is a five-day data workshop at Harvard University for education analysts, research directors, and system leaders who want to leverage data to inform decision making and improve student achievement at the systems level. The curriculum provides a foundation or refresher course on problem analysis, technical methods, program evaluation, and data visualization and communication techniques. Hands-on activities, including computer lab sessions, demonstrate how to gain key insights around priority topics such as teacher effectiveness or college-going success. Participants need not be an expert in statistical programming, though a basic understanding is recommended. Download an overview.



  • Understand root-cause analysis and problem identification as a framework for conducting analytics in education
  • Learn basic data exploration techniques for rapidly producing descriptive analyses that surface new questions that are highly relevant to education leaders
  • Assess operational use of data in your agency and learn strategies to influence leadership with analytics
  • Understand important concepts for effectively displaying analytics and communicating with data
  • Learn basic methods and strategies for robust program evaluation


"This was probably the best conference/institute I have ever attended. SILA gave me the opportunity to interact with data people from all aspects of the educational world. The benefit was that we spoke the same language, yet we could focus on real data issues and case studies and not get caught up in the single-focus issues…SILA showed me new ways to dive into our data, and gave me a network of professionals and tools do to that."
-Past SDP Institute Participant


Principles of Effective Data Analysis in Education
Get hands-on instruction on key methods for exploring large education data sets and completing analyses to surface trends in high school graduation rates, college enrollment and persistence, and teacher placement, retention, and effectiveness.

Root-Cause Analysis and Problem Identification
Explore root-cause analysis as a framework for understanding challenges and identifying alternative solutions.

SDP Strategic Use of Data Rubric
Assess your agency’s use of data with the SDP Strategic Use of Data Rubric and develop an action plan to bring next steps back to your agency.

SDP Fellows' Spotlight & Discussion Groups
Engage with current and former SDP Fellows to discuss best practices around topics like data dashboards, data governance, human capital, and college-going success.

An Introduction to Program Evaluation
Consider key strategies and methods for program evaluation in education.

High-Level Agenda

An example of an agenda from a past SDP Institute. 

July 14, 8:30 AM–6:30 PM 

  • Welcome to the SDP Institute
  • Root-Cause Analysis and Problem Identification
  • SDP Strategic Use of Data Rubric
  • Introduction to Data Exploration and Data Management in Education
  • Networking Reception

July 15, 8:30 AM–5:00 PM

  • Data Crunching Exercise: Getting Started with Education Data and Stata
  • An Introduction to Program Evaluation

July 16, 8:30 AM–5:00 PM

  • Data Visualization and Communication
  • Data Crunching Exercises: Human Capital and College-Going Data Analysis

July 17, 8:30 AM–6:30 PM

  • Data to Action: Data Leadership Discussions
  • Data Crunching Exercises: Communicating with Data
  • Networking Reception

July 18, 8:00 AM–12:00 PM

  • Group Presentations of Analyses
  • Resources for Improving Strategic Use of Data in Your Agency

    Dress is business casual. Attendance for all SDP Institute events, including the evening receptions, is mandatory.

    Travel & Accommodations

    Hotel accommodations are made available to participants at a reduced rate. Rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Detailed program information and accommodation options will be provided to all admitted participants. 

    Please note, the Center for Education Policy Research is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred. We recommend that you not make lodging and travel arrangements until you are admitted to the program.


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