Professional Biography

Dr. Supovitz conducts research on how education organizations use different forms of evidence to inquire about the quality and effect of their systems to support the improvement of teaching and learning in schools. Dr. Supovitz also leads the evidence-based leadership strand of Penn’s mid-career leadership program and teaches courses on how current and future leaders can develop an inquiry frame of thinking about continuous improvement and the skills necessary to compile, analyze, and act upon various forms of evidence.

While studying policy analysis at Duke University, Dr. Supovitz first focused on education leadership and policy. Before earning his doctorate at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, he gained middle and high school teaching experience in Queretaro, Mexico, and Boston, Massachusetts. His dissertation at Harvard focused on the classroom and accountability uses of portfolio assessment in an urban school district. Upon completing his degree, Dr. Supovitz worked as a research associate at Horizon Research in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he directed the evaluation of the New Jersey Statewide Systemic Initiative and evaluated the effectiveness of electronic “netcourses” for teacher enhancement. He joined the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) in 1997 as a senior researcher and the faculty at Penn GSE in 2005.

Dr. Supovitz is an accomplished mixed-method researcher and evaluator, employing both quantitative and qualitative techniques. He has published findings from a number of educational studies, including multiple studies of programmatic effectiveness; examinations of the relationship between teacher professional development, teaching practice, and student achievement; studies of educational leadership; research on efforts to develop communities of instructional practice in schools; an examination of the equitability of different forms of student assessment; and the use of technology for evaluative data collection. His current work focuses on how districts develop a coherent vision of instructional improvement and devise systems to support instructional focus in schools, and how organizations build a culture of inquiry that supports sustained organizational learning and improvement.

Research Interests and Current Projects


Ed.D. (Education - APSP Program, Research Concentration) Harvard University, 1996.
M.A. (Public Policy) Duke University, 1991. 
B.A. (History) University of California, Berkeley, 1985. 

Areas of Expertise

District reform
Instructional improvement
School reform/state takeovers
Standardized testing
Teacher qualifications

Selected Publications

Supovitz, J. (2014). Building a Lattice for School Leadership: The Top-to-Bottom Rethinking of Leadership Development in England. Research Report (#RR-83). Philadelphia: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania.

Supovitz, J. A., & Tognatta, N. (2013). The Impact of Distributed Leadership on Collaborative Team Decision Making. Leadership and Policy in Schools,12(2), 101-121. Awarded journal’s inaugural outstanding publication award.

Supovitz, J. A. (2013). Situated research design and methodological choices in formative program evaluation. In Design-based implementation research: Theories, methods and exemplars. Fishman, Penuel, Allen & Cheng, Eds.National Society for the Study of Education Yearbook, 112(2), 372-399.

Supovitz, J. (2013). Slowing Entropy: Instructional Policy Design in New York City, 2011-12. Philadelphia, PA: Consortium for Policy Research in Education. 

Supovitz, J. (2012). Getting at Student Understanding – The Key to Teachers’ Use of Test Data.Teachers College Record, 114, 1-29.

Supovitz, J., Foley, E. & Mishook, J. (2012). In Search of Leading Indicators in Education.Educational Policy Analysis Archives,20(19), 1-26.

Supovitz, J. A., Sirinides, P. & May H. (2010). How Principals and Peers Influence Teaching and Learning.Educational Administration Quarterly.46, 31-56.

Supovitz, J. A. (2010). Knowledge-Based Organizational Learning for Instructional Improvement. In Second International Handbook of Educational Change, Hargreaves, Lieberman, Fullan and Hopkins (Eds.), New York: Springer, 707-723.

Supovitz, J. A. (2008). Instructional Leadership in American High Schools in Melinda M. Mangin, Sara Ray Stoelinga Eds, Effective Teacher Leadership: Using Research to Inform and Reform, 144-162. New York: Teachers College Press.

Supovitz, J. A. (2009). Can high stakes testing leverage educational improvement? Prospects from the last decade of testing and accountability reform.Journal of EducationalChange,10(2), 211-227.

Supovitz, J. A. (2006).The case for district-based reform: Leading, building, and sustaining school improvement. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Winner of the AERA District SIG publication of the year award, 2008.

Supovitz, J. A. (2003). Evidence of the influence of the National Science Education Standards on the professional development system. In K. S. Hollweg & D. Hill (Eds.),What is the influence of the National Science Education Standards?(pp. 64-75). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Supovitz, J. A. (2002). Developing communities of instructional practice.Teachers College Record104(8): 1591-1626.

Supovitz, J. A.: (2001). Translating teaching practice into improved student achievement. From the capital to the classroom: Standards-based reform in the States. Fuhrman, S. (eds.).National Society for the Study of Education Yearbook Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Page: 81-98.

Supovitz, J. A., & Turner, H. (2000). The effects of professional development on science teaching practices and classroom culture.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(9), 963-980.

Supovitz, J. A., Mayer, D., & Kahle, J. B. (2000). The longitudinal impact of inquiry-based professional development on teaching practice.Educational Policy, 14(3), 331-356.