Ellen Schiller, Principal Scientist, Center for Education and Human Services | SRI International

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Ellen Schiller

Principal Scientist, Center for Learning and Development

Ellen Schiller, Ph.D., focuses on research that improves education and social programs for children and adolescents who are at risk of poor performance in school, including those with disabilities. Currently, she is co-principal investigator of the federally funded Impact Evaluation of Response to Intervention Strategies in Elementary Reading, a promising school-wide reform initiative. She directed the evaluation of the Michigan Striving Readers program, a large-scale randomized trial of the Fusion reading program, which is designed to accelerate the reading outcomes of adolescents reading more than two years below grade level.

Schiller is also principal investigator for a project to build a unified research agenda for online learning environments to improve STEM outcomes for students with learning disabilities and students with autism spectrum disorder. Guided by a theoretical model of how children who struggle learn, the work has three phases: (1) conduct a synthesis and gap analysis, (2) engage experts to refine the research agenda, and (3) frame a call to action to guide future research pathways and priorities regarding K-12 online STEM learning, a rapidly growing practice in our nation's schools, for students with and without disabilities.

Previously, Schiller led the national study of state and local implementation of IDEA (SLIIDEA), reported on the state of practice for educating students with learning disabilities by using data from the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS), conducted a policy analysis using secondary datasets on the identification and outcome trends of children receiving services under IDEA, and served as a special assistant in the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. In the latter position, she directed a portfolio of projects on research syntheses in special education that resulted in a book, Contemporary Special Education Research: Syntheses of the Knowledge Base on Critical Instructional Issues. Schiller has numerous publications on effective special education practices and programs, with a particular emphasis on school-based interventions for children and youth who struggle to learn to read. Her work has been published in Exceptional Children, Journal of Educational Psychology, Teaching Exceptional Children, and Reading Research Quarterly.

Schiller has more than 25 years of experience in research and evaluation of interventions to improve academic outcomes of students who struggle in school, including middle school and high school students with learning disabilities, and in using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Before joining SRI, Schiller was senior research associate at Abt Associates. 

Schiller received her Ph.D. in special education from Arizona State University.

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