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Education Specialist (EdS)
in Leadership in
K-12 Education

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Courses start every Monday

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Take the first step in your National University journey

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Just as teachers are now in greater demand than ever before, educational leaders are needed to manage and assist schools, school districts, and state educational boards as they work to improve their instructional capabilities. This specialization immerses you in the increasingly popular and growing field of educational learning analytics. The coursework explores the foundations of learner analytics and its key theories, leading experts, best practices, and K-12 applications. You’ll study the difference between academic and learning analytics, and examine the role technology and data mining play in both. Ultimately, you’ll learn how to identify and apply relevant data in the K-12 educational environment, such as demographics, academic ability, student engagement measures, financial aid, technology and online measures, etc.

Admission Requirements 

A conferred post-baccalaureate master’s degree or doctoral degree from a regionally or nationally accredited academic institution or an international institution determined to be equivalent through an approved evaluation service.


The Education Specialist (EdS) program requires two foundational courses, two research courses, six specialization courses, and one capstone course for a total of 33 credit hours. Both the Education Specialist (EdS) and Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership (EdS-EdL) require that all other courses be completed before starting the capstone course. The estimated time needed to complete this program is 23 months.

Course Details

Course Listings

Your communication abilities have a big influence on your professional reputation. In this course, you’ll develop skills to establish yourself as a competent professional with strong communication skills. You’ll learn competencies related to written, oral, and visual forms of communication appropriate to specific media and audiences. You’ll also explore how the iterative nature of preparing communications and integrating feedback into your work products can support your development and advancement as a professional.

Leadership during times of change can be challenging. This course supports your professional development as an effective leader of educational organizations during periods of change. You’ll explore strategies and techniques for self-reflection, evaluating culture, integrating stakeholder feedback, and incorporating data as part of improvement processes. To conclude the course, you’ll synthesize these skills to design a comprehensive improvement plan that addresses a specific problem within an educational organization.

This course introduces you to the research process by exploring its underpinnings, examining its paradigms, and investigating the foundations of qualitative and quantitative methodologies used in educational studies. You’ll identify criteria for the development of quality research studies that are ethical, accurate, comprehensive, cohesive, and aligned. Specific course topics involve the ethics of conducting research; data collection and analysis techniques; and issues of feasibility, trustworthiness, validity, reliability, transferability, and rigor. The goal is to familiarize yourself with the concepts and skills associated with conducting theoretical and applied research.

Select One of the Following Two Research Courses:

A focus on qualitative research methodology and the designs and methods used to collect and analyze data in educational research. You’ll examine the principles of qualitative research and explore commonly used designs (also referred to as qualitative traditions or genres) with a focus on application and feasibility. Qualitative data collection and analysis methods will be examined for their suitability with regard to the research design selected. Alignment between qualitative designs and research methods, issues of trustworthiness, and the responsibilities of the qualitative researcher will also be explored.

An exploration of quantitative research methodologies and associated designs and methods. You’ll examine paradigmatic perspectives along with the tenets and conventions of quantitative research. Topics for examination include feasibility, validity, reliability, variable operationalization, inferential designs, and analytic software applications used within the quantitative research paradigm. You’ll also look at the components of quantitative research designs that support meaningful studies within the field of education.

As the capstone to your EdS studies, you’ll work with a specific educational program relevant to your current or future professional aims. You’ll review the related literature and evaluate data to inform your development of potential solutions and future areas of research related to your identified problem. Finally, you’ll reflect on your personal learning journey throughout the EdS program.

Specialization Courses

LAK-7000 Introduction to Learning Analytics 

This course explores the evolution of data analytics and its progression into education. Prominent theories and leaders will be explored, and you’ll learn to delineate between learner analytics, academic analytics, and data mining. The coursework outlines the distinction in purpose and function that learning analytics play in the K-12 environment.  You’ll be introduced to the historical forces responsible for driving the growth of K-12 learning analytics, such as federal legislation, high-stakes testing, increased accountability, reduction in resources, and an increase in commercially branded software. Finally, you’ll examine potential learner analytics use in K-12 environments, the criteria for a successful K-12 analytic program, and stakeholder perspectives regarding the implementation of analytics.

LAK-7001 K-12 Educational Data

An introduction to the role of technology and the various forms of education data used in learning analytics. You’ll receive an overview of data mining with special consideration and focus on best practices in learning analytics, such as the use of learning analytics software, learning management systems, and course content systems. Instruction will include the uses, relevance, and practicality of employing K-12 data for predictive analysis. You’ll also learn the difference in viewpoint that data can provide, from a retrospective to a formative assessment to a predictive view.

LAK-7002 K-12 Analytics Decision-Making: An Administrator’s Perspective

This course introduces schools and system administrators to the world of learning analytics and how to design, choose, or model an intended project. You’ll learn to align learning analytic projects to school/district priorities, needs, and areas of inquiry. You’ll also explore the various factors to consider when using data analytics as a “crystal ball,” and the pros and cons of doing so. Several early and recent applications of learning analytics in the K-12 sector will be presented, and you’ll learn how to evaluate and critique each, as well as how to handle stakeholder concerns.

LAK-7003 K-12 Learning Analytic Considerations

This course addresses the common problems, concerns, and oversights with learning analytics that school districts and administrators may encounter. All the soft sides of learning analytics will be addressed, especially student privacy regulations (FERPA) and data ownership and stewardship. You’ll learn the advantages, limitations, and implementation guidelines of predictive analytics in K-12, and you’ll engage in analytics activities for both prediction (e.g., predicting college readiness) and formative (e.g., real-time gauging of performance for course correction) assessment at the K-12 level. Throughout the course, you’ll gain exposure to many active K-12 learning analytic projects.

LAK-7004 K-12 Analytic Tools

This course introduces you to the various types, functions, and applications of K-12 analytics tools. You’ll review prominent studies and explore an analytics strategy that relies on knowing the purpose and types of educational answers sought, as well as the technology infrastructure, the availability of data, and the costs. Special attention is given to the use of K-12 statewide student information systems (SIS) and the integration of other multisource data, such as that from the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress).

LAK-7005 Implementing a K-12 Analytics Project

In this learning analytics capstone course, you’ll design (in theory, rationale, and purpose) your theoretical K-12 analytics project that follows a provided, predesigned template. Particular attention will be given to issues of scope, cost, timeliness and utility. You’ll also work to address the humanistic and soft sides of learning analytics, including leadership, in-house expertise, and ethical and legal issues.

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop skills to support educational practices across diverse instructional and organizational settings
  • Communicate with diverse audiences about educational theories, research, and practices
  • Analyze professional skills, dispositions, and technology options for learning and educating diverse groups
  • Apply evidence-based solutions for addressing educational, organizational, and societal issues
  • Analyze current research, theories, and instructional practices in educational and organizational environments

Why Choose National University

  • Four-Week Courses
  • 190+ Degree Programs
  • Online or On-Site
  • Year-Round Enrollment
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We’re proud to be a Veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 230,000 alumni worldwide.

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