More than a feeling: Using research and data to guide our work

As an organization focused on leadership development, we align what we do — from program curricula to alumni support — to a set of key competencies, personal attributes and knowledge areas to help our network members make meaningful, lasting change on behalf of the families and communities they serve. How we identify, validate and implement our leadership frameworks requires more than a feeling, but also a continuous process of research and evaluation.

For The Broad Residency in Urban Education, we began more than a decade ago with comprehensive research reviews — both within and outside the field of education — to develop an initial set of key competencies and success outcomes. This was followed by the creation of a 360-degree assessment tool to measure growth on these competencies and outcomes as Residents progressed through the program.

Using data from these assessments over time, we conduct rigorous quantitative analyses to tie individual competencies and attributes to that Resident’s organizational success. Combined with additional qualitative interviews and focus groups of Residency alumni and supervisors, we continuously refine our competencies and measures of success to those found to be most relevant to Residents’ work and  success on the job. Emerging Leaders in Public Education: A Data-Informed Approach to Identifying Success Indicators outlines some of these efforts and highlights the key competencies that positively correlate with measures such as Residents’ contributions to the success of their organization.

We employ a similar approach to validate and update the abilities and attributes emphasized by The Broad Academy as well as alumni supports for our network members as they progress in their careers, post-program. As we collect more data on their professional development and impact, we continue to evaluate and improve our programs’ leadership frameworks. It’s these adjustments that, over time, help us build the kinds of high-quality programming and supports that our network members count on.


Rakhee Patel is the senior director of the Data, Research and Evaluation team.

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