Barbara J. Helms, Ph.D., Senior Associate, Research and Evaluation, guided CTAC’s landmark work in the area of data driven decision-making and the impact of performance management. She is the research and evaluation expert on the instruments and methodologies that CTAC uses to gauge student achievement and other indicators of school progress, and provides professional development to districts using CTAC’s data analysis instruments. Dr. Helms has extensive experience in student achievement data analysis, design and implementation of district data systems, statistical methodologies, and the creation and use of relational databases in teacher evaluation and performance-based compensation reforms. She has coordinated CTAC’s qualitative research activities—survey and interview design, development of sampling plans and coordination and analysis of responses. In collaboration with other members of project teams, she contributes to management letters, interim and final reports.
Dr. Helms has applied her expertise to all aspects of quantitative research—including design, data collection, primary and secondary analyses of district student achievement data, on multi-year research projects (e.g., Denver Pay for Performance Pilot, State Takeover of Newark NJ Public Schools, Collaborative Decision-Making in Denver; Charlotte-Mecklenburg NC Teachers Incentive Fund/Leaders for Educator’s Advanced Performance (TIF/LEAP); Christina DE School District Accomplishments for Children Challenges Ahead; Professional Development Audit, Schultz Center for Learning, Jacksonville FL,). As part of CTAC’s Standard Bearer Schools (SBS) process which has shown significant improvement in student achievement and sustained turnarounds in urban school systems throughout the country, Dr. Helms worked with the Christina DE School District, Decatur IL Public School District 61, and five districts in Santa Clara and Los Angeles Counties CA conducting secondary analyses of the district’s student achievement data, analyzing responses to CTAC’s Organizational Assessment Survey (OAS) and working on-site, with other CTAC project staff and district teacher teams, to interpret these data and use the findings to improve student achievement.
Dr. Helms served as principal investigator/research scientist on an Early Reading First federal grant in the Lowell, MA and an IES Teacher Quality grant in several districts in West Virginia.
She served as President of the Northeastern Educational Research Association (NERA) where she was honored with the Leo D. Doherty Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service and an Award of Special Recognition. She was a Mary E. Switzer Distinguished Research Fellow. She previously served as Principal Investigator/ Senior Research Associate of an Early Reading First project in Lowell, MA, director of Demographics and Assessment, for the East Hartford Public Schools (CT), and Vice President for Research of the Institute for Human Resource Development, Glastonbury CT.