Martha Bleeker

Martha Bleeker

Principal Researcher
  • Evaluation of Education and School-Based Programs and Interventions
  • Data Collection and Survey Development
  • Supervision and Mentoring of Junior Staff
  • Systematic Evidence Reviews
  • Developmental Psychology
Focus Areas
  • Education
  • Family Support
  • Youth Development
  • Human Services
About Martha

Martha Bleeker has expertise in designing and conducting impact evaluations of education and school-based programs for government agencies and foundations, using both experimental and quasi-experimental methods. She has studied the impact of interventions on children’s and adolescents’ academic outcomes, social-emotional well-being, physical activity, health-related outcomes, and career plans.

Since joining Mathematica in 2005, Bleeker has worked on the design, data collection, analysis, and dissemination of findings for several studies. She has served as the deputy project director and survey director on an evaluation of the Harlem Children's Zone’s Healthy Harlem obesity prevention initiative and an evaluation of the Playworks program, which places full-time coaches in schools to provide opportunities for organized play during recess and throughout the school day. She also served as the survey director for the evaluation of the Roads to Success Program, a college- and career-readiness program for students at high-poverty rural middle and high schools.

Bleeker has conducted systematic reviews for the What Works Clearinghouse since 2008. She serves as the product lead for all What Works Clearinghouse topic areas that evaluate research on education interventions. She is also the lead methodologist for the topic areas focused on interventions for students with disabilities, providing group design and single-case design methodological support to reviewers, reconciling study reviews, assigning effectiveness ratings to interventions, and writing intervention reports. She has developed training materials and guidance documents for single-case design reviewers and leads single-case design training and certification.

Before coming to Mathematica, Bleeker worked for many years on projects aimed at increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In 2015, she served on the project planning committee for a conference focused on girls’ math identity and participation in STEM, which was funded by the National Science Foundation.

In addition to her project work, Bleeker supervises Mathematica’s survey research associates. She holds a Ph.D. in human development and family studies with a minor in statistics from Pennsylvania State University.

Key Projects
  • Playworks: Student and School Outcomes

    Full-time coaches in low-income schools provide opportunities for organized play during recess and throughout the school day. Activities engage students in physical activity, foster social skills, improve ability to focus on class work, decrease behavioral problems, and improve school climate.

  • Promise Neighborhoods Case Studies

    Mathematica conducted in-depth, multi-method case studies that focused on five of the Promise Neighborhood grantees, which provided short-term formative input to efforts to improve the program.

  • High school math teacher in classroom with students
    Roads to Success

    Mathematica conducted a rigorous random assignment evaluation of Roads to Success measuring the impacts on educational and career aspirations and plans, planning skills, and attendance rates.

Latest News
  • Playworks children on playground
    Hard Work on the Playground

    The Playworks program places full-time coaches in low-income schools in order to organize and direct play during recess and the school day. Mathematica studied the effects of the the Playworks program over the course of two school years (2010-2012). Results of this rigorous study were published in four...