Princeton, N.J. (July 11, 2007)–Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., has been awarded a $50 million contract to administer the next generation of the What Works Clearinghouse for the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. The WWC was established in 2002 by IES to provide educators, policymakers, and the public with a central and trusted source of scientific evidence of what works in education.
The WWC collects, reviews, and reports on studies of education programs, products, practices, and policies in selected topic areas, using a set of standards based on scientifically valid criteria. Mathematica´s five-year contract involves administering the next generation of the WWC, which will put more high-quality research and interpretive products into the hands of decision makers. The No Child Left Behind Act, with its focus on using high-quality scientifically based research to inform education decisions, has heightened the demand for the type of information produced by the WWC.
Mathematica assembled a multi-tiered team of research partners to bring wide-ranging depth and expertise to bear on the WWC´s ambitious set of new products. The initiative will also will tackle special education research, develop practice guides to provide expert advice to educators based on research findings, examine implementation and costs of effective interventions, and provide training and support to other organizations that want to use WWC standards for research reviews.
Mark Dynarski, senior fellow and associate director of research at Mathematica, is spearheading the initiative. He is a nationally recognized expert in education policy and evaluation methodology, including the design, implementation, and analysis of evaluations using random assignment and quasi-experimental designs. Well known for his expertise in programs for at-risk children and youth, he has served as principal investigator for the WWC dropout prevention area since 2005, is a member of a National Academy of Sciences panel investigating the effectiveness of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, and advises on research design for several IES studies as well as for the Atlantic Philanthropies and the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Jill Constantine, a senior economist and associate director of research, is the deputy director for the initiative. She has extensive experience in evaluating education interventions and has directed several of the firm´s large-scale evaluations, including a study of Talent Search, one of the federal TRIO programs. Currently principal investigator for the WWC beginning reading area, she is an expert in random assignment, matching procedures such as propensity scoring, and advanced statistical modeling.
Mathematica´s partners in the project include Analytica, Chesapeake Research Associates, Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, CommunicationWorks, Empirical Education, Inc., Human Resources Research Organization, ICF-Caliber, Optimal Solutions Group, RAND Corporation, RG Research Group, SRI International, Twin Peaks Partners, University of Arkansas, and the University of Wisconsin.
Mathematica, a nonpartisan firm, conducts policy research and surveys for federal and state governments, foundations, and private-sector clients. The employee-owned company, with offices in Princeton, N.J., Washington, D.C., and Cambridge Mass., has conducted some of the most important studies of education, health care, early childhood policies, welfare, employment, and nutrition programs in the U.S. Mathematica strives to improve public well-being by bringing the highest standards of quality, objectivity, and excellence to bear on the provision of information collection and analysis to its clients.