Faculty and Research Affiliates

Matthew G. Springer

Director, National Center on Performance Incentives

Research Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Matthew G. Springer is a research assistant professor of public policy and education and director of the federally-funded NCPI. Professor Springer’s research interests involve educational policy issues, with a particular focus on the impact of policy on resource allocation decisions and student outcomes. His current research includes studies of the impact of performance-based incentives on student achievement and teacher turnover, mobility, and quality; the strategic resource allocation decision-making of schools in response to No Child Left Behind; and the impact of school finance litigation on resource distribution. Professor Springer’s research is currently funded by the United States Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, Smith Richardson Foundation, and Texas Education Association. He has also served on several advisory committees charged with designing performance-based compensation systems for teachers and/or principals at the state and district level, and conducted analyses of school finance systems in Alaska, Kentucky, and South Carolina. Springer received a B.A. from Denison University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. He is co-principal investigator for the center

Dale Ballou

Associate Professor of Public Policy and Education, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Dale Ballou is an associate professor of public policy and education in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. Professor Ballou specializes in the economics of education, econometrics, research design, and value-added measurement. His most recent research has dealt with personnel policies in charter schools, teacher testing, and the role of unions in education reform. Professor Ballou has completed extensive research on the role of regulations and incentives in the training, recruitment, and retention of teachers. His work has appeared in professional economics journals as well as publications for a broader audience like The Public Interest and Education Week. Professor Ballou has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on education issues and has advised the Massachusetts legislature and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on policies related to school financing, teacher licensure, and teacher compensation. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Yale University, and in recent years, has developed a national reputation as an authority on educational assessment and accountability systems. Professor Ballou is co-principal investigator for the center.

Timothy C. Caboni

Assistant Dean for External Relations; Lecturer in Public Policy and Higher Education, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Tim Caboni is a lecturer in public policy and higher education and holds an administrative appointment as Peabody College’s assistant dean for external relations. Professor Caboni also serves as Director of the Institutional Advancement Program – the nation’s only academic program devoted solely to the preparation and advancement of professionals for colleges and universities. His research interests concentrate on social control and stratification within higher education, and the relationships between postsecondary education institutions and their external publics. He has extensive professional experience in alumni relations, prospect research, and public relations, and he continues to serve as fundraising counsel to several higher education institutions. Before coming to Vanderbilt, Professor Caboni was senior development officer at Loyola University New Orleans during the university’s first comprehensive campaign. Professor Caboni received his Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies from Peabody College, and was the 2002 recipient of the John Grenzebach Award for Outstanding Research in Philanthropy for Education.

Mark Ehlert

Research Analyst, University of Missouri – Columbia

Mark Ehlert is a research analyst in the Economics Department at the University of Missouri – Columbia. Dr. Ehlert has worked extensively with institution- and state-level data to conduct research and evaluation on K-12, higher education, and employment and training systems. He has participated in numerous program evaluations and research studies utilizing both primary data and state-wide administrative data sets. Dr. Ehlert assisted in designing and conducting a multi-site and multi-state evaluation of the Successful Schools Program, a school reform effort initiated by the Ewing-Marion Kauffman Foundation. He is also a member of an evaluation team that has studied implementation and outcomes associated with a multi-project professional development program in Missouri. Some of his other recent research includes analyses of the eligibility and distribution of financial aid in Missouri colleges and universities; examining the predictive ability of Missouri’s high-school proficiency test on the college-going rates and performance of high-school graduates; evaluating school-level and individual-level outcomes associated with Missouri’s A+ Schools program; and evaluating outcomes from and participation in the state’s workforce development system. Dr. Ehlert received his doctorate in comprehensive vocational education in 1998.

Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar

Statistician, The RAND Corporation

Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar is a statistician at RAND, where she works on data collection and analysis of secondary data in Education, Health and Labor and Population. Her statistical expertise includes survey design, missing data, response error, longitudinal and multilevel data. She has worked on many NIH and NSF funded studies including Project Alert Plus, a field experiment to review the effectiveness of a drug-prevention curriculum delivered in 48 school districts in South Dakota; L.A. FANS, a study of children and outcomes in 65 communities in Los Angeles; and a study of gender bias in federally funded programs. As Principal Investigator of a National Institute of Mental Health methodological grant, she assessed the impact of the survey mode on measures of mental health. She recently obtained NSF funding to analyze attrition and predictors of drop-out in a sample of Texas high schools. Dr. Ghosh-Dastidar has served on the Scientific Committee of the International Conference on Health Policy Statistics, the Executive Committee of the Section on Health Policy Statistics, American Statistical Association, and the Committee for Privacy and Confidentiality within ASA. She has served on numerous scientific review panels for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Timothy J. Gronberg

Professor of Economics, Texas A&M University

Timothy J. Gronberg is a Professor of Economics at Texas A&M University, where he teaches and specializes in research in microeconomic theory and public finance. Professor Gronberg has published papers in major academic journals, including American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Public Economics, and Journal of Urban Economics. Much of his research has focused on the provision of local public goods and services. His recent research has largely centered upon issues in the economics of education, and includes studies of the cost of education services, the measurement of educational performance, and school choice. The work on the cost of education in Texas was carried out for the Texas’ Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance. This research brought an education cost function approach to the determination of cost-of education funding indices and to the estimation of the costs of meeting accountability standards. Professor Gronberg is a recognized scholar on charter schools. He has co-authored important cited papers on the achievement of students who attend charter schools as well as on the systemic impact of charter schools on performance of traditional public school students. Professor Gronberg earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Northwestern University in 1978. He has been a Research Fellow of the Private Enterprise Research Center since 1992 and a Senior Fellow of the Texas Public Policy Foundation since 2002.

James W. Guthrie

Senior Fellow, George W. Bush Institute

Professor, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University

James Guthrie is a Senior Fellow at the George W. Bush Institute, and a professor at the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University. His research concentrates on educational policy issues and resource allocation consequences. More specifically, he is concerned with school finance, both K-12 and higher education, legal issues of equity and adequacy, education reform strategies, educational accountability, political processes and education, and theories of education reform. Professor Guthrie, who holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University, served as an education specialist for the United States Senate, and was a special assistant to the assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Twice publicly elected to the board of education in Berkeley, California, he is the author or co-author of ten books and more than 200 professional and scholarly articles, is past president of the American Education Finance Association, former editor of Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, served as editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of American Education, published in 2002, and is series editor of the ten-volume Peabody Education Leadership Series.

Laura Hamilton

Senior Behavioral Scientist, RAND Corporation

Laura Hamilton is a senior behavioral scientist at RAND Corporation, where she conducts research on educational assessment, accountability, instructional practices, and school reform implementation. She is currently directing or co-directing several large-scale evaluations, including a study of the implementation of standards-based accountability in response to No Child Left Behind and an evaluation of a leadership development program. Dr. Hamilton received a Ph.D. in educational psychology and an M.S. in statistics from Stanford University. She has served on a number of national and state panels, including Brookings National Commission on Choice in K-12 Education, the Center on Education Policy’s Advisory Panel on Student Achievement Under No Child Left Behind and its Panel on High School Exit Exams, and the Research Advisory Board for the School Choice Demonstration Project.

Janet S. Hansen

Vice President and Director of Education Studies, Committee for Economic Development

Janet Hansen is Vice President and Director of Education Studies for the Committee for Economic Development in Washington, DC. Her research interests include K-12 school finance and K-12 school reform, as well as higher education access, affordability, and effectiveness. Dr. Hansen’s current work focuses on transforming American school finance into a performance-oriented system that supports and encourages the effective use of educational resources to improve student learning. Prior to rejoining CED in 2007 (where she also worked from 1999-2004) she conducted policy research at the RAND Corporation. There she served as RAND’s project director on a joint study of school finance reform sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Hansen received a Ph.D. in public and international affairs from Princeton University. She is currently a research affiliate at the National Center on Performance Incentives, an adjunct research staff member at RAND, and a senior adviser to the College Board’s “Thinking Student Aid” project. She has served as a distinguished Senior Fellow at the Education Commission of the States and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Education Finance Association. She has been a reviewer and technical panel member at the National Center for Education Statistics and a study committee member and subsequently a senior program officer at the National Research Council of the National Academies.

Chris Hulleman

Assistant Professor, James Madison University

Chris Hulleman is an assistant professor of graduate psychology and assistant assessment specialist at the Center for Assessment and Research Studies at James Madison University. Prior to joining the faculty at James Madison University, Dr. Hulleman was a research fellow in the Experimental Education Research Training (ExpERT) Program in Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. He received both his MS (2002) and PhD (2007) in Social/Personality Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was an Institute for Education Sciences pre-doctoral Research Fellow from 2005-2007. Dr. Hulleman’s primary research interests involve understanding the contextual and personality factors that influence motivation and performance. As a research affiliate with the National Center on Performance Incentives he is currently involved in several projects that examine the influence of performance-based incentives on student, teacher, and administrator motivation and performance. Hulleman’s methodological interests include defining, conceptualizing, and assessing implementation fidelity in applied experimental settings, as well as conducting mediational analyses within hierarchically structured data sets. Hulleman received his BA from Central College and his postgraduate diploma in psychology from the University of Western Australia.

Brian A. Jacob

Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy University of Michigan

Brian Jacob is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy, Professor of Economics, and Director of the Center on Local, State and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. He is also a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an Executive Committee Member of the National Poverty Center. He has previously served as a policy analyst in the NYC Mayor’s Office and taught middle school in East Harlem. His primary fields of interest are labor economics, program evaluation, and the economics of education. His current research focuses on urban school reform and teacher labor markets. In recent work, he has examined school choice, education accountability programs, housing vouchers, and teacher labor markets.

Dennis W. Jansen

Professor of Economics, Texas A&M University

Dennis W. Jansen is Professor of Economics at Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1983 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his undergraduate degree in economics and mathematics from St. Louis University in 1978. His research has focused on monetary and financial economics and on the economics of education. Recently Professor Jansen has worked on studies of the cost of education and on the impact of charter schools on student performance. He has worked on grants for the State of Texas as well as a grant from the National Science Foundation. Professor Jansen has chaired the doctoral dissertations of over twenty students who hold jobs in academia, government and business throughout the world, and is a regular participant at academic conferences. He has held research and teaching positions at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Indiana University-Bloomington, North Carolina State University, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Catholic University Leuven, and Maastricht University. He has been a Private Enterprise Research Center Research Fellow since 1992. Professor Jansen has published nearly fifty research papers in professional journals and books, as well as two textbooks, and numerous other writings.

Cory Koedel

Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia

Cory Koedel is an assistant professor of economics as the University of Missouri-Columbia. His research interests include the economics of education and labor economics. Professor Koedel’s current research focuses on value-added and the measurement of teacher quality. In recent work, he has examined the impacts of school choice policy and of intensive reading programs targeted at disadvantaged youth. In 2005, he received the Spencer Foundation’s prestigious dissertation fellowship award. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, San Diego.

Vi-Nhuan Le

Behavioral Scientist, RAND Corporation

Vi-Nhuan Le is a behavioral scientist at RAND. Her primary research interests and expertise lie in mathematics and science reform, educational assessment, and measurement issues in early childhood education. Dr. Le’s current work includes exploring the effects of child care quality on children’s socio-emotional and cognitive functioning, examining the relationships between non-cognitive skills and children’s gains in reading and mathematics, and exploring the relationships between reform-oriented instructional practices and student mathematics and science achievement. She has also completed projects related to, among other things, innovative measures for assessing instructional practices and learning and teaching conditions in middle school. Dr. Le received a Ph.D. in educational psychology and an M.S. in statistics from Stanford University.

Jessica L. Lewis

Research Associate, National Center on Performance Incentives

Jessica Lewis is a research associate at the National Center on Performance Incentives. Her research interests and efforts are focused on the importance of stimulating greater teacher quality within the education system, with particular attention to enhancing teacher learning opportunities, recruitment and retention mechanisms, and pathways for professional growth. Dr. Lewis currently heads up NCPI’s evaluation efforts in Texas, studying the state’s Governor’s Educator Excellence Award Program. She has worked as an education policy analyst for the State of Tennessee’s Office of Education Accountability, completing several statewide evaluation projects on a variety of education topics including alternative education, public charter schools, and schools placed on the state’s high priority list for No Child Left Behind. Prior to her work for the State of Tennessee, Dr. Lewis was an American Federation of Teachers fellow for the American Educator journal in Washington, DC. She received her Ed.D. in K-12 Education Leadership and Policy at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.

J.R. Lockwood

Statistician, RAND Corporation

J.R. Lockwood is a statistician at the RAND Corporation, specializing in longitudinal and hierarchical modeling. His policy research interests include value-added modeling approaches for teacher and school accountability, and relationships between teaching practices and student achievement. Dr. Lockwood’s extensive work with value-added modeling for estimating teacher effects includes several papers on statistical and computational methods, and the development of software for implementing complex models with large datasets. Dr. Lockwood is currently leading an Institute of Education Sciences funded project to develop enhanced models for estimating teacher effects. In his five years at RAND, he has completed a variety of quantitative analyses of education, environmental, and health policy problems. Lockwood received his Ph.D. in statistics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Daniel F. McCaffrey

Head of Statistics, Senior Statistician, RAND Corporation

Daniel McCaffrey is a senior statistician and head of the RAND Statistics Group. Dr. McCaffrey is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and is nationally recognized for his work on value-added modeling for estimating teacher performance. He is currently leading an evaluation of the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment Pilot Program, and is co-PI of an Institute of Education Science’s (IES) funded project that is developing alternative value-added models of teachers’ effectiveness. Dr. McCaffrey is also the principal investigator of a National Institute on Drug Abuse funded study, and is working on the design of a random trial of the Cognitive Tutor Geometry curriculum for and IES funded study. Prior to this work, he was the lead statistician on two recent randomized field trials of school based interventions: an evaluation of the Project ALERT Plus middle and high school drug prevention program; and an evaluation of the teen dating violence prevention curriculum, Break the Cycle. Dr. McCaffrey has presented his work to numerous audiences including the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the Ohio Department of Education and several workshops on value-added modeling. Dr. McCaffrey recently received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and The Kauffman Foundation. He received his Ph.D. in statistics from North Carolina State University.

Patrick J. McEwan

Associate Professor of Economics, Wellesley College

Patrick J. McEwan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Wellesley College. He previously taught in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Professor McEwan’s research focuses on the economics of education, applied econometrics, and education policy in Latin America. He has evaluated education policies ranging from class size reduction to private school vouchers in numerous countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Uruguay. His research has been published in a wide range of economics and education journals, as well as three books. He has consulted on education policy and evaluation at the Inter-American Development Bank, the RAND Corporation, UNESCO, the World Bank, and the ministries of education of several countries. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2000 and his B.A. (summa cum laude) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1994.

Shawn Ni

Professor of Economics and Adjunct Professor of Statistics, University of Missouri-Columbia

Shawn Ni is Professor of Economics and Adjunct Professor of Statistics at University of Missouri-Columbia. His recent research concerns empirical analysis of disaggregated data, such as household consumption and evaluation of teachers and schools. Many of these problems involve analysis of dynamic panel data with limited numbers of observations on each unit and with observations subject to measurement errors. Professor Ni develops Bayesian approaches to dynamic panel data models that produce sharper and more reliable inference on parameters of interest.

Michael J. Podgursky

Professor of Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia

Michael Podgursky is professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has published numerous articles and reports on education policy and teacher quality, and co-authored a book, Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality. The primary focus of his recent work has been on personnel policy in schools and the effects on teacher quality. Professor Podgursky is currently working on a study committee of the National Research Council examining teacher preparation in the United States, and is a scholar-in-residence at the Kauffman Foundation. His work on education has been supported by many agencies, including the United States Department of Education, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the Abel Foundation, the Fordham Foundation, and the Kauffman Foundation. Professor Podgursky also serves on the board of editors of Education Finance and Policy, and technical advisory boards for numerous education organizations, including the National Center for Education Statistics, National Center for Teacher Quality, American Board of Certification of Teacher Excellence, the National Center for Education Accountability, and Mathematica Policy Research. He earned his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also co-principal investigator for the center.

Brian M. Stecher

Senior Social Scientist, RAND Corporation

Brian Stecher is a senior social scientist in the education program at RAND Corporation. His research focuses on applied educational measurement, including the implementation, quality, and impact of state assessment and accountability systems; and the cost, quality and feasibility of performance-based assessments. Dr. Stecher currently directs a multi-state, National Science Foundation-funded study of the accountability provisions of No Child Left Behind, and he recently completed a four-year evaluation of the California Class Size Reduction initiative. He is a member of the Technical Design Group advising the California Department of Education on the development of the state’s accountability system. Dr. Stecher received his Ph.D. in education from the University of California of Los Angeles, has published widely in professional journals, and is a member of editorial boards of the Educational Assessment Journal and Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

Lori L. Taylor

Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University

Lori Taylor is an assistant professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. She has written extensively on variations in the cost of education and recently developed a Comparable Wage Index for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Dr. Taylor’s current projects explore differences in teacher quality between charter and traditional public schools, and the effects of competition on teacher compensation and school productivity. Her work on school finance issues has been published in The Review of Economics and Statistics, The Journal of Urban Economics, Education Finance and Policy, The Journal of Education Finance, and the AEFA Yearbook. She is a member of the National Center for Education Statistics’ Finance Technical Review Panel, and recently served as the principal researcher for Texas’ Joint Select Committee on Public School Finance. In that capacity, she was the author or co-author on a series of legislative reports examining the cost of education in Texas. She holds a B.A. in economics and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Kansas, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Rochester.