Barbara Lepidus Carlson

Barbara Carlson

Director of Survey Statistics
  • Statistical Sampling and Weighting
  • Survey Research
Focus Areas
  • Health
  • Early Childhood
  • Human Services
About Barbara

Barbara Lepidus Carlson has expertise in statistical sampling and weighting and survey research. She has used her strong statistical sampling skills on numerous projects, predominantly surveys in the fields of health care and early childhood education, including studies of Head Start.

As lead sampling statistician and task leader, Carlson is responsible for designing and implementing samples, creating sampling and analysis weights, calculating response rates, estimating design effects, conducting power analysis, and ensuring overall data quality. She documents the methodology using language understandable by nonstatisticians, and she is well versed in complex sample designs, including the use of variance estimation techniques. In addition to her expertise in sampling and weighting survey data, Carlson has directed a number of survey projects, including the large-scale Health Tracking Household Survey (formerly the Community Tracking Study Household Survey) conducted in communities across the country, and the Evaluation of the Cash and Counseling Demonstration. The latter was an award-winning randomized study in which frail Medicaid enrollees, or those with disabilities, received a monthly cash allowance to purchase personal assistance services and related goods, with the goal of increasing consumers’ control over their personal care.

Carlson, who joined Mathematica in 1993, has authored and presented many technical, methodological, and subject-matter papers at the annual Joint Statistical Meetings as well as other conferences. She conducts seminars for nonstatisticians on topics such as weighting, response rates, and power analysis both in-house and as an invited speaker. She sat on the National Academies’ Committee on National Statistics Expert Panel to Review the Design of the National Children’s Study. Carlson has an M.A. in mathematics with a concentration in statistics from Boston University.

Key Projects
  • Head Start: The Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES)

    Mathematica conducted the 2006 and 2009 FACES studies, and, for the most recent studies (2014-2018 and 2019), redesigned FACES to provide key data more rapidly and with greater frequency and to help researchers examine more complex issues and topics in greater detail with more efficiency.

  • The Study of School Turnaround

    This project is documenting the turnaround process in 25 schools across six states and looking at how these schools have used their School Improvement Grant funds to implement improvement actions.

  • photo of older man
    Evaluation of Three Cash and Counseling Programs

    The cash and counseling program was implemented as a demonstration in Arkansas, Florida, and New Jersey between 1998 and 2004. Approximately 2,000 adults in each state (plus 500 Florida children) who volunteered for the study were randomly assigned to participant or control groups. Our evaluation investigated...

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