Courtney Bell

Director of Wisconsin Center for Education Research,
Learning Sciences Area

Bell, Courtney

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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. Courtney was proud to lead the international development of two observation systems and serve as a PI on the OECD-organized TALIS Video Study (also called the Global Teaching InSights study). This ground-breaking study was 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.


  • PhD Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy, Michigan State University, 2004
  • BA Chemistry, Dartmouth College, 1996

Select Publications

  • Bell, C., Castellano, K., & Klieme, E. (2020). Classroom management. Global teaching insights study policy report (Ch. 3) Paris: OECD Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Bell, C., Schweig, J., Castellano, K., Klieme, E., & Stecher, B. (2020). Instruction. Global teaching insights study policy report (Ch. 5) Paris: OECD Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Bell, C., Klieme, E., & Castellano, K. (2020). Social-emotional support. Global teaching insights study policy report (Ch. 4) Paris: OECD Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Bell, C., Qi, Y., Witherspoon, M., Howell, H., & Torres, M. (2020). The TALIS Video Study observation system. Paris: OECD Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Bell, C., Gitomer, D., Savage, C., & McKenna, A. (2019). A synthesis of research on and measurement of STEM teacher preparation. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Liu, S., Bell, C., Jones, N., & McCaffrey, D. (2019). Classroom observation systems in context: A case for the validation of observation systems. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 31(1), 31-61. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Sykes, G., Bell, C., & Shukla, B. (2019). Quest for quality: An indicator system for teaching. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Bell, C., Dobbelaer, M., Klette, K., & Visscher, A. (2018). Qualities of classroom observation systems. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 30(1), 3-29. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Bell, C., Jones, N., Qi, Y., & Lewis, J. (2018). Strategies for assessing classroom teaching: Examining administrator thinking as validity evidence. Educational Assessment, 23(4), 229-249. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Gitomer, D., & Bell, C. (2016). Handbook of Research on Teaching, 5th Edition. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association Online Publication/Abstract.

Select Presentations

  • Bell, C. (2021, March). The Global Teaching InSights Video Study: Methodology, data, and research opportunities. Presentation for the AERA-OECD Global Forum and the AERA-ICPSR-NSF Peers Data Hub. Link
  • Bell, C. (2019, July). Assessing teacher performance through portfolios: Rater training issues. Keynote/Plenary Address presented at the Measurement Center of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (MIDE UC), Santiago, Chile.
  • Bell, C. (2019, June). What we see depends on how we look: The assessment of teaching in socio-cultural context. Keynote/Plenary Address presented at the Quality in Nordic Teaching conference, Oslo, Norway.
  • Bell, C. (2019, March). Observation system validity and utility. Keynote/Plenary Address presented at the Teaching Quality: Current Issues and Future Directions Conference, Tubingen, Germany.

Select Awards and Honors

  • Outstanding Young Researcher, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut, 2007
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Measurement, American Educational Research Association and Educational Testing Service, 2007
  • Teachers for a New Era Fellowship, University of Connecticut, (2005, 2007)
  • E. Robert Stephens Research Award, Association of Educational Service Agencies, 2005
  • Outstanding Dissertation Award, American Educational Research Association, Div. L, 2005
  • Dissertation Fellowship, Spencer Foundation, (2003, 2004)