Our academic affiliates are research partners selected for their expertise in many of the issues related to educator impact, ranging from student surveys to value-added methods to decision theory. They expand the lab’s expertise into more geographic regions of the country and methodological areas of inquiry.
Ryan Balch has expertise in measurement development and is a national thought leader on using student surveys at the elementary and secondary level. Before founding My Student Survey, Ryan Balch completed his Ph.D. in education policy at Vanderbilt University as an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Fellow, where his dissertation focused on the development and validation of student surveys on teacher practice. He was the principal investigator for the student survey pilot of more than 15,000 students in 7 districts as part of Georgia’s Race to the Top initiative and worked for the National Center on Performance Incentives. In addition, Ryan was the director of teacher and principal evaluation for Baltimore City Schools. During this time, he oversaw the creation and implementation of the district’s new systems of evaluation. Previously, Ryan worked as a science teacher and administrator for seven years at Riverwood High School in Atlanta, Georgia. He has a B.A. in psychology from Duke University and a M.A. in science education from Georgia State University.
Cassandra Guarino holds a dual appointment as professor of education and public policy at the University of California, Riverside. She obtained her Ph.D. in the economics of education from Stanford University in 1999 with an emphasis on labor economics. She has held prior positions on the faculties of Indiana and Michigan State Universities and as an economist at the Rand Corporation. Her research focuses on teacher quality, teacher labor markets, school choice, and issues in which health and education are linked. Recent work has included several studies related to value-added measures of teacher performance, teacher effectiveness in the early grades, school choice, teacher mobility and special needs identification. She teaches courses in education policy, the economics of education, and quantitative research methods, and she is currently co-editor of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
Douglas N. Harris
Douglas Harris is professor of economics, the Schleider Foundation Chair in Public Education, and founder and director of the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans (ERA-New Orleans) at Tulane University. His research helps inform and influence national debates over a range of education policies. Value-Added Measures in Education, his first book, was nominated for the national Grawemeyer prize in education and published by Harvard Education Press in 2011. He has received more than $13 million in research funding and published in top academic journals in multiple fields and disciplines, including economics, sociology, education, and public policy. He is also actively involved in policy debates, contributing to the Obama Administration's transition team on the measurement of school performance; advising the administration on college performance measures; and testifying in the U.S. Senate about the TRIO college access programs. His Brookings report on community colleges helped shape the President's recent reform plans. Today, his research focuses on the effects of unprecedented New Orleans school reforms and their implications for national schooling policy. Doug is also widely cited in both academic journals and the national media, including CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, National Journal, Slate, the Atlantic, Politico, and others.
Cory Koedel is an associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of Missouri–Columbia. His research is in the areas of teacher quality and compensation, curriculum evaluation and the efficacy of higher education institutions. His work has been widely cited in top academic journals in the fields of economics, education and public policy, and he has served on several technical advisory panels related to school and teacher evaluations for school districts, state education agencies and non-profit organizations. Dr. Koedel is an associate editor for the Economics of Education Review and serves on the editorial boards for Education Finance and Policy and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and the board of directors for the Association for Education Finance and Policy. He was awarded the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association (Division L) in 2008, and in 2012 he received the Junior Scholar Award from the same group. He received his PhD in economics from the University of California, San Diego in 2007.
Matthew Kraft is an assistant professor of education and economics at Brown University. His research and teaching interests include the economics of education, education policy analysis, and applied quantitative methods for causal inference. Specifically, he studies human capital policies in education with a focus on teacher effectiveness and organizational change in K-12 urban public schools. He has published on topics such as teacher coaching, teacher layoffs, teacher-parent communication, teacher professional growth, school working conditions, and extended learning time. He is the recipient of the William T. Grant Scholars Award, the National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship, and the Palmer O. Johnson Memorial Award for the most outstanding publication appearing in the American Educational Research Association journals. Previously, he taught eighth-grade English in Oakland USD and ninth-grade humanities at Berkeley High School in California. He holds a doctorate in quantitative policy analysis in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education as well as a master's in international comparative education and a B.A. in international relations from Stanford University.
Nirav Mehta is an assistant professor in the Economics Department at the University of Western Ontario. He has worked at Western since obtaining his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, where he was an IES Predoctoral Fellow. He is a labor economist who combines economic theory with data to inform education policy. In recent work, he linked economic theory with statistical theory to study how best to measure teacher quality, an important input to education reform policies. He uses a simple model of an administrator tasked with identifying high-quality teachers to show that empirical Bayes estimators, the most popular method to estimate teacher effectiveness for use in incentive (typically bonus) schemes, do not necessarily make the best use of available information as they are typically implemented. He has also worked on several additional topics in the economics of education, including charter school policy and social interactions/peer effects (e.g., the determinants of consequences of ability tracking).
Matthew P. Steinberg is an assistant professor of education in the Education Policy Division at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) Graduate School of Education. He is the faculty methodologist for the Penn IES Pre-Doctoral Training Program, a faculty fellow with the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a faculty affiliate with the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative, a senior researcher at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, and an affiliated researcher with the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research. His research explores questions of educational significance related to teacher evaluation and human capital, urban school reform, school climate and safety, and education finance. Dr. Steinberg is a recipient of the 2016 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship. He received his Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Chicago in 2012, where he was an Institute of Education Sciences Pre-Doctoral Fellow with the University of Chicago Committee on Education. Prior to graduate school, he was an investment banker and a New York City Teaching Fellow.