Photo of Nathan Jones

Nathan Jones

Associate Professor

Dr. Nathan Jones is an associate professor in the Special Education program at Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. He is affiliated faculty with the Wheelock Educational Policy Center (WEPC) and is a founding member of the BU Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences. Beginning on September 1, 2023, Dr. Jones is on leave from Boston University while he serves as commissioner of the Institute of Education Sciences’ (IES) National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER).

In his research, Dr. Jones focuses on the intersection of education policy and classroom teaching, particularly in special education. Much of this work has examined on the measurement of teachers’ work, including how to conceptualize and measure teaching effectiveness. In addition, Dr. Jones has leveraged state and district administrative datasets to explore pressing questions surrounding special education staffing policies, including whether students with disabilities have access to high-quality general education and special education teachers and whether staffing models such as co-teaching and the use of paraprofessionals lead to improved student outcomes. Finally, he studies how to improve the quality of teacher preparation, including how to ensure that general educators receive sufficient opportunities to learn and practice essential skills for supporting students with disabilities.

Dr. Jones’s research has been supported through grants from the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Education Sciences, the William T. Grant Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation, among others. His research has appeared in leading journals in special education, education policy, and measurement, including the Journal of Human Resources, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Researcher, AERA Open, Exceptional Children, Remedial and Special Education, and Educational Assessment.

In 2022, he served as a committee member for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report, The Future of Education Research at IES: Advancing an Equity-Oriented Science. He is currently working on a forthcoming book that will focus on teacher time use, arguing that time is at the root of many problems in schools, particularly those related to classroom instruction.

PhD, Special Education & Education Policy, Michigan State University

BA, Political Science, Northwestern University

SE584: Methods and Materials: Mild and Moderate Disabilities, 5-12

SE510: Special Education: Curriculum and Instruction

ED 502 & 3: Analyzing Foundations of Teaching

ED 801: Educational Foundations and Systems

Bruhn, J., Jones, N., Kanno, Y., & Winters, M. (accepted). Professional development at scale: The causal effect of obtaining an SEI endorsement under Massachusetts's RETELL initiative. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

Jones, N., Bell, C., Brownell, M., Qi, Y., Peyton, D., Pua, D., & Holtzman, S. (2022). Using classroom observations in the evaluation of special education teachers. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

Jones, N. & Winters, M. (2022) Are two teachers better than one? The effect of co-teaching on students with and without disabilities. Journal of Human Resources.

Jones, N., Camburn, E. M., Kelcey, B., & Quintero, E. (2022). Teachers’ time use and affect before and after COVID-19 school closures. AERA Open.

Johnson, E. S., Reddy, L. A., & Jones, N. (2021). Introduction to the special issue: Can direct observation systems lead to improvements in teacher practice and student outcomes? Journal of Learning Disabilities.

Mathews, H., Stark, K., Jones, N., Brownell, M., & Bell, C. (2021). Danielson’s Framework for Teaching: Convergence and divergence with conceptions of effectiveness in special education. Journal of Learning Disabilities.

Lai, I., Wood, W., Imberman, S., Jones, N., & Strunk, K. (2020) Teacher quality gaps by disability and socioeconomic status: Evidence from Los Angeles. Educational Researcher.

Gilmour, A. & Jones, N. (2020). Policies that define instruction: A systematic review of states’ and districts’ recommendations for evaluating special educators. Educational Researcher.

Brownell, M. Jones, N., Sohn, H., & *Stark, K. (2020). Improving teaching quality for students with disabilities: Establishing a warrant for teacher education practice. Teacher Education and Special Education.

Billingsley, B., Bettini, E., & Jones, N. (2019). Supporting special education teacher induction through High-Leverage Practices. Remedial and Special Education.

Liu, S., Bell, C., Jones, N., McCaffrey, D. (2019). The validity of classroom observation systems in research and applied contexts. Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Accountability.

Jones., N., Bettini, E., & Brownell, M. (2019). Competing strands of educational reform policy:  Can collaborative school reform and teacher evaluation reform be reconciled? The Elementary School Journal.

 Richmond, G., Salazar, M. D. C., & Jones, N. (2019). Assessment and the future of teacher education. The Journal of Teacher Education, 70(2), 86-89.

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.

Bettini, E., Jones, N., Brownell, M. T., Conroy, M., & Leite, W. (2018). Novice special educators’ school social contexts: Relationships with workload manageability. The Journal of Special Education.

Bettini, E., Jones, N., Brownell, M. T., Conroy, M., Park, Y., Leite, W., Crockett, J., & Benedict, A. E. (2017). Workload manageability among novice special and general educators: Relationships with emotional exhaustion and career intentions. Remedial and Special Education, 38, 246-256.