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Redefining how school leaders measure the progress of equity-centered efforts

What is CALL-MEI?

The CALL-MEI (Mapping Equity Indicators) study is a two-year project to develop a new set of equity indicators, evidence models, and data tools to measure the process and outcomes of equity-centered leadership.

CALL-MEI will identify public datasets that can serve as evidence for equity indicators and will then develop and test visualization tools for district and school leaders to access this data in order to track the progress of equity-related leadership efforts.

The study is led by Dr. Alex Bowers, Dr. Christopher Saldaña, and Dr. Richard Halverson. Their team will draw on publicly available achievement, descriptive, demographic, and financial data to create useful data resources for Equity-Centered Principal Pipeline Initiative (ECPI) districts to measure and support their equity-centered leadership preparation and support efforts.

How will CALL-MEI redefine equity-centered efforts?

The CALL-MEI project will operationalize a model of equity indicators developed by the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). The NASEM 2019 Monitoring Educational Equity report describes seven categories that contain 16 indicators of equity-related progress in schools.

The NASEM report describes how traditional measures of equity-related progress tend to focus on closing gaps in standardized achievement test measures and disproportional behavioral consequences in schools. These are important equity outcomes that must be addressed in any school reform effort. However, focusing on these outcomes alone can overlook the structures and practices that school leaders put in place to support equity-centered schooling. The report invites educators and researchers to develop more comprehensive indicator systems that can provide evidence of progress across the different dimensions of equity-related work in schools.

The CALL-MEI project will:

  • Identify and assemble relevant, publicly available datasets that could provide evidence of each available NASEM indicator;
  • Work with ECPI districts to collaboratively develop visualization tools that invite educators and researchers to easily compare variables within and across datasets;
  • Create constructs from the datasets that could provide evidence for a variety of equity-related outcomes in schools.

In 2022, Dr. Bowers and colleagues at Teachers College began the initial MEI work to operationalize and visualize relevant equity-indicator datasets available related to New York City Public Schools. Bowers’ team identified over 700 datasets with information relevant to these indicators, and, more importantly, piloted an open access visualization toolkit for researchers and leaders to compare and analyze data from across sources.

In fall of 2022, Bowers and Halverson organized a subgroup of CALL-ECL researchers to explore how the MEI work could measure the equity-centered leadership work of ECPI districts. In spring 2023, Saldaña joined the conversation about how to integrate budget and financial data into the MEI model.

Throughout 2023 and 2024, the CALL- MEI workgroup has developed models similar to the NYC model by collecting and visualizing publicly available datasets the ECPI districts involved.

This study looks to include datasets for all ECPI districts and to create powerful visualization tools for all schools and leaders to assess the broader impact of equity-centered leadership.