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School of Education - George Mason University

In this era of data-informed decision-making in education, there is an increasing need for individuals well versed in creating and managing educational programs that allow systematic gathering, analysis, and interpretation of high quality evidence. The graduate certificate in educational assessment, evaluation, and data literacy provides individuals in educational settings knowledge and skills to effectively use data to support learning and instruction as well as monitor and measure program success. Courses are tailored to meet the aims and scope of two concentrations: data literacy and program evaluation.

Concentration in Data Literacy

Students interested in the data literacy concentration will take four carefully sequenced courses offered online in an asynchronous format (i.e., 12 credits), including a culminating capstone project under the supervision of a faculty member. The data literacy concentration prepares individuals with knowledge and skills to think critically about data in educational assessment, research, and evaluation. Therefore, the concentration is uniquely relevant for individuals interested in educational data-driven decision making including teachers, educational specialists, school leaders, and higher education staff. Graduates of the certificate will be knowledgeable about the landscape of educational data, critical issues in educational data use, equity and ethical use of data, data analyses, and effective communication of data to aid decision-making in educational contexts. Students enrolled in the data literacy concentration are eligible to transfer up to 12 credits toward the Master’s degree in Educational Psychology.

Concentration in Program Evaluation

Students interested in the program evaluation concentration will take five courses (i.e., 16 credits) in educational research methods, educational statistics, qualitative methods, and program evaluation. The Program Evaluation concentration prepares individuals seeking evaluation positions in educational organizations as well as government and non-government agencies. Therefore, the concentration is relevant for current graduate students, program coordinators, and directors interested in developing, leading, or evaluating educational programs. Students will participate in an internship experience as part of an advanced program evaluation course to gain first-hand experience conducting and supporting evaluation of a program of their choice. Students in the program evaluation certificate can use up to 16 credits toward their Master’s or doctoral program. We encourage currently enrolled degree students or recent graduates to consider the program evaluation concentration if they are interested in a career in educational evaluation.

Concentration in Data Literacy

The Data Literacy Concentration is offered fully online and offers skill development in:
• Understanding the landscape of educational data used to make decisions about students and educational programs
• Becoming a better consumer of data and educational research
• Using data to answer questions about student academic achievement, behavior, and development
• Knowing when and how to use different measurement strategies to elicit meaningful evidence about educational phenomena
• Adopting the ethical principles and professional standards pertinent to educational data use in practice
• Using data to ensure fairness and equity in educational research and practices
• Applying appropriate strategies for data collection, analysis, interpretation, and use of results for decision making
• Reporting of data-based evidence to pertinent stakeholders
• Use of appropriate evaluation methods for making decisions about individuals and programs

Concentration in Program Evaluation

The Program Evaluation Concentration offers skills development in:
• Critiquing and evaluating current educational research
• Applying basic concepts and assumptions pertinent to statistical analyses
• Applying basic approaches to qualitative data analysis and interpretation
• Adopting the ethical principles, competencies, and professional standards that inform evaluation practice to critique and conduct evaluations
• Understanding the role of theory in program development and evaluation
• Planning and implementing program evaluations grounded in appropriate theory and research