Brian Gill
Human Services

Brian Gill

Senior Fellow

Brian Gill studies K–12 education policy, including charter schools, educator effectiveness, and the implementation and impacts of high-stakes testing and other accountability regimes.

Gill is one of the nation’s leading experts on the effects of charter schools. He served as principal investigator for the first rigorous, nationwide examination of the effectiveness of nonprofit charter-school management organizations. He was also principal investigator on the first nationwide evaluation of the effects of KIPP schools. Gill co-directed the first study of the effects of charter high schools on graduation, college enrollment, and earnings in adulthood; and the first nationwide study of the operations of online charter schools. He is now leading a pioneering study of the impact of charter schools on civic participation.

Gill is also an expert on accountability regimes in education. He serves as a principal investigator for the federal study of the implementation of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including its provisions related to accountability and efforts to improve low-performing schools. He was lead author on a study of the implications of behavioral science research for accountability in schools, describing the ways that accountability can be broadened beyond high-stakes testing to incorporate professional accountability systems that simultaneously incentivize and support improvement in teaching.

Gill frequently works closely with state and local educational leaders on various K-12 challenges. Beginning in 2017, he directs the U.S. Department of Education’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Laboratory, assisting educators and officials with high-priority projects. He also served as senior adviser on the first study of the predictive validity of new, Common-Core-aligned assessments, assisting Massachusetts in its decision about using the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments. In addition, he co-developed a conceptual framework for data-driven decision making providing guidance to state and local officials.

Gill has also conducted extensive research related to measures of educator performance. He has helped to develop and test measures of educator effectiveness based on professional practice, student feedback, and student achievement growth. Gill has played a key role in pioneering studies of the evaluation of school principals as well as teachers, including a study for the U.S. Department of Education to assess the validity of school principals’ contributions to student achievement growth.

Gill’s award-winning research on homework compiles half a century of data on time spent by students and a century of debates among educators and parents. His research examines homework not only as a tool for promoting academic achievement but also as a means of communication from school to parents and a potential flash point for school-family conflict.

Gill was senior advisor for school choice issues on the U.S. Department of Education’s National Longitudinal Study of NCLB and served on the National Working Commission on Choice in K–12 Education at the Brookings Institution. Before joining Mathematica in 2007, he spent a decade at the RAND Corporation. Lead author of Rhetoric vs. Reality: What We Know and What We Need to Know About Vouchers and Charter Schools, he has published in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Behavioral Science and Policy, Statistics and Public Policy, the Journal of Labor Economics, Economics of Education Review, Education Finance and Policy, American Journal of Education, Teachers College Record, Peabody Journal of Education, Education Next, the Handbook of Research on School Choice, and the Encyclopedia of Education Economics and Finance. He also regularly writes blog posts and op-eds for non-academic audiences. Gill holds a Ph.D. in jurisprudence and social policy and a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

  • K–12 education policy, including charter schools, high-stakes testing and accountability, educator effectiveness, state and federal education policy implementation, and homework

Focus Area Topics
  • Education
  • School Choice and Charters
  • School Reform
  • Teacher and Principal Effectiveness
  • Human Services

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