Dale L. Cope

Dale Cope
  • Research Project Director


Dale Nelson Cope, Ph.D., has more than 20 years of experience as an education practitioner, serving as a teacher, principal, program coordinator, and school district executive director. She has worked in the business sector as the education director of a technology company where her focus was on training educators to implement curriculum and data management systems.

Cope is a Research Project Director on the Learning Maps team at Accessible Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Systems (ATLAS), a research center at the University of Kansas with more than 150 staff and more than $20M in annual revenues.

Cope came to Achievement and Assessment Institute (AAI), the parent institute for ATLAS, in 2015 as the liaison between the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development and KU while the Alaska Measures of Progress (AMP) statewide assessment system was under development. In that role, Cope facilitated the selection of 125 educators from across Alaska to participate in the standards-setting review of the assessment items. She led a team of three writers who developed the District Test Coordinator Manual, and Test Administration directions for AMP.

She is the Principal Investigator for the Writing and Revising Interventions to Excel (WRITE) project, a U.S. Department of Education grant (S356A210063) with a goal of improving non-ELA teachers’ pedagogical skills and efficacy for teaching argumentative writing within their subject area.

Cope was the Project Manager for a four-year Enhanced Assessment grant awarded to the Kansas State Department of Education. That project extended the use of learning maps for grades 2–8 general education standards in ELA and math with four state partners.

In 2021, she led an initiative to refresh the 350+ Dynamic Learning Maps® (DLM®) Alternate Assessment System mini-maps. For the DLM mini-map, four subproject teams considered and made updates to the design, web accessibility, production, and documentation for the mini-maps.

Prior to joining AAI and ATLAS, her experience included work with the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED). At Alaska DEED, Cope conducted a court-ordered study of education equity in rural Alaska called Meaningful Exposure and led technical assistance teams for the state system of support for underperforming schools.

In her work at the University of Alaska Statewide, Cope wrote a $15 million Investing in Innovation (i3) federal grant proposal to support statewide mentoring of early career teachers. When the grant was awarded she served as the interim PI for 18 months. Cope also served as a university faculty member supervising secondary math and science MAT students in their field placements.


Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Business Administration, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Selected Publications

Gertov, M., Lu, L., and Cope, D. Confucius Institutes in the U.S.: A Multiple Case Study. Study commissioned by Hanban, Ministry of Education, PRC.

Kingston, N.M., Hess, J., Cope, D., Romine, R.S. (2021). On Determining the Efficacy of Using Learning Maps as an Organizing Structure for Formative Assessment: Some Lessons Learned in Hong Jiao and Robert Lissitz (Eds.) Enhancing Effective Instruction and Learning Using Assessment Data. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Cope, D., Dubiel, H., Swinburne Romine, R., & Kingston, N. (2019). Use of Learning Maps as an Organizing Structure for Formative Assessment: Evidence from the Enhanced Learning Maps project. Lawrence: University of Kansas, Center for Accessible Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Systems (ATLAS). Manuscript in preparation.

DeFeo, D., Tran, T., Hirshberg, D., Cope, D., & Cravez, P. (2017) Cost of teacher turnover in Alaska. Center for Alaska Education Policy Research at the Institute of Social and Economic Research at University of Alaska Anchorage.

Cope, D., & Evans-Dineen, L. (2015). Alaskan Inuit Education Improvement Strategy. Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska, Anchorage, AK.

Cope, D. (2011). Meaningful Exposure: An analysis of student exposure to non-tested curriculum standards in five rural Alaska school districts. Report prepared for the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, by order of Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason for Moore v. State of Alaska.

Merz, C. and Cope, D. 1998. Parent Participation in School Leadership: Menial or Meaningful. American Educational Research Journal, Fall 1998.

Selected Presentations

Covitt, B.A., Frank, N., Puniwai, N., Perry, H.E., Watson, B.K., Haavind, S., Cope, D., Staudt, C. (2023). Navigating Relational Perspectives through Collaboration to Expand Students’ Experiences of/with/in Places and Cultures. Annual Meeting of NARST: A Worldwide Organization for Improving Science Teaching and Learning Through Research, Chicago, IL.

Covitt, B.A., Staudt, C., Cope, D. Massicotte., J., and Kimball, N. Exploring Plurality in Students’ Way of Knowing with Learning Progression-based Assessments of Computational Thinking. Annual Meeting of NARST: A Worldwide Organization for Improving Science Teaching and Learning Through Research. April 8, 2021.

Gertov, M., Lu, L., Cope, D., and Julius, D. Confucius Institutes in US Institutions of Higher Education. Presentation to US CI Directors. March 17, 2021. Virtual presentation.

Gertov, M., Lu, L., Cope, D., and Julius, D. Confucius Institutes in US Institutions of Higher Education. Ohio State University, November 2020. Virtual presentation.

“Teacher turnover in Alaska and some promising practices to stem the tide”, co-presenter at the University of the Arctic Congress, September 12, 2016, University of St. Petersburg, Russia.

“A university and K12 collaborative approach to rural school tutoring”, co-presenter at Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators (PAC-TE), October 23, 2014, Harrisburg, PA.

“How can the measurement of meaningful exposure inform education policy?”, presentation at the American Educational Research Association, April 7, 2014, Philadelphia, PA.

“Achieving and determining return on investment in educational technology”, presentation at Alaska Science, Technology, and Engineering Annual Meeting, Anchorage, AK, February 22, 2014.

“Born in another time”, presentation at Alaska Science, Technology, and Engineering Annual Meeting, Anchorage, AK, February 25, 2013.

“An example of court-ordered education evaluation to test constitutionality and drive policy: The relationships, relevance, and responsibilities in the Meaningful Exposure Project in Alaska”, American Evaluation Association annual conference presenter, October 2012, Minneapolis, MN.

“Findings and Results of the Meaningful Exposure to Non-Tested Curriculum Standards study”, presenter, Alaska State School Board, June 2011.

“Middle Level Learners”, invited presenter to Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C., March 1994.

“Monitoring of Instruction”, conference presenter, Hawaii E-School Conference, February 2004.

“Implementation Monitoring”, discussant, Alaska Quality Schools Conference November 2004.

“Making Special Ed./Regular Ed. Collaboration Work for Teachers and Students”, seminar leader, Puget Sound ESD 121, Burien, WA. 1992-1994.

“Is it Necessary to Track Seat Time in Distance Education?” Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges Annual Meeting, Bellevue, WA, April 1996.


  • National Charter School Resource Center Technical Advisory Group
  • Special Education Advisory Council: Anchorage School District
  • American Evaluation Association
  • American Educational Research Association
  • Evergreen Data Academy
  • National Indian Education Association
  • National Association of Bilingual Education
  • Learning Forward
  • American Chemistry Teachers Association