Melissa Clark

Melissa Clark

Principal Researcher
  • Design and implementation of rigorous impact evaluations
  • Education policy
Focus Areas
  • Education
  • School Choice and Charters
  • Teacher and Principal Effectiveness
  • Teacher and Principal Preparation and Support
  • Human Services
About Melissa

Melissa Clark specializes in the design and implementation of rigorous impact evaluations, with a focus on education policy.

Clark's recent research has focused on how best to train and support teachers and school leaders. She was the principal investigator for a random assignment evaluation for the U.S. Department of Education that assessed the impact of teachers from highly selective alternative certification programs, such as Teach For America and Teaching Fellows programs, on secondary student math achievement. She also directed a random assignment evaluation of Teach For America's impacts on student achievement at the elementary school level, funded by an i3 scale-up grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Clark is currently principal investigator on two random assignment studies for the U.S. Department of Education—one of intensive professional development for principals and one of instructional coaching for novice and early career teachers. She is also directing a quasi-experimental study for the Wallace Foundation on the effects of efforts to improve the performance of principals through enhanced support for their supervisors.

Clark has published in the Journal of Human Resources, the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Economics of Education Review, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, and the Journal of Population Economics. She coauthored The Market Comes to Education in Sweden: An Evaluation of Sweden’s Surprising School Reforms, a book from the Russell Sage Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University.

Key Projects
  • Impact Evaluation of Support for Principals

    This study is designed to provide rigorous evidence on the impact of principal professional development on principal practices, school climate, teacher effectiveness and retention, and student achievement.

  • Charter Schools: Are They Effective?

    This national evaluation of charter schools addressed questions about the impacts of charter schools on students' achievement, students' school success, and parents' satisfaction.

Latest News
Related Case Studies
  • three ies studies graphic
    Building the Knowledge Base on Teacher Preparation and Effectiveness

    Mathematica designed and conducted three large-scale studies on the relationship between teacher preparation and effectiveness, using the most rigorous approach possible—random assignment of students to teachers from different kinds of programs—and compared student test scores to gauge teacher effectiveness.

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