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Jeff Watson
Jeff Watson, Ph.D.

As Senior Advisor for the SLDS State Support Team, Jeff Watson, Ph.D., leads the Research and Evaluation Priority Area and provides support across all SLDS grantees on issues related to system design; data quality, use, and visualizations; and stakeholder engagement. His focus is on designing and implementing SLDS projects in a way that supports research and policy analysis teams in answering insightful and relevant questions. This includes predictive systems (e.g., drop-out early warning systems), growth measures (e.g., student growth percentiles and value-added measures), and cross-domain analyses (e.g., does early childhood programming reduce K12 drop out risk?). He also offers expertise in program evaluation, end-user adoption and use, stakeholder engagement, teacher quality, and strategic human capital management.

Dr. Watson leverages more than 15 years’ experience in the K20 decision support space, including serving as a researcher and technical assistance provider at UW-Madison on early rounds of SLDS and Teacher Incentive Funds (TIF). He also provided data systems expertise to the Bush Foundation’s Teacher Effectiveness Initiative that sought to strengthen P20 data use around teacher preparation and teacher quality, as well as a data systems expert for Wisconsin’s Educator Effectiveness Initiative. He more recently served as Vice President of Education Research and Analytics at a major education solutions provider, where he guided product development to ensure the company’s products continued to support district and state infrastructure needs (including building out predictive analytic products) and client-side utilization and project success (e.g., adoption and use strategies, measures, and best practices).

Dr. Watson has presented at national conferences such as NCES data summits, AERA, and AEFP on topics including data quality and data modelling issues as they pertain to analytics and data use (e.g., student–teacher linkages). Dr. Watson has also collaborated with non-profit organizations such as the Johns Hopkins University Pathways to Adult Success group and the Silicon Valley Regional Data Trust. Dr. Watson received his Ph.D. from UW-Madison in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a focus on Human Computer Interaction and Human Factors, where he applied an engineering theory to identify and understand factors that contributed to school-level capacity to use data to guide instructional decision making.