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School of Education at UW–Madison


Dr. Courtney Bell serves as the Director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) and Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. A former high school science teacher, Courtney earned her doctorate at Michigan State University in Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy and a B.A. in Chemistry at Dartmouth College. Courtney is passionate about understanding and improving teaching for historically underserved children. Her interdisciplinary collaborative work is situated at the intersections of research, policy and practice. It spans issues of parental choice, performance assessments of teaching, international comparisons of teaching, teaching quality, teacher learning, teacher education, and the measurement of teaching. The recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship in measurement from the American Educational Research Association and Educational Testing Service (ETS), she worked for over a decade as a researcher at ETS, the world’s largest private, nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization. Since leaving ETS to take the helm at WCER, she has led the international development of two teacher observation systems and served as a principal investigator on the Global Teaching InSights study, the first of its kind to comprehensively measure teaching quality using observations, artifacts, questionnaires, and student outcomes in eight economies. She is currently engaged in both national and international studies of teaching, teacher education, and teacher learning.