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Senior Researcher, Center for Education Policy
Kyra Caspary, Ph.D., examines how educational programs and interventions affect student learning and educational equity. Her primary areas of interest are transitions to postsecondary education and improving educational outcomes for underserved youth. Caspary has more than 15 years of experience in education research, with expertise in program evaluation and survey design, and leads mixed-methods studies that include collection and analysis of survey and student achievement data in addition to qualitative data.
In her research on college and career readiness for underserved youth, Caspary served as co-principal investigator for SRI’s multiyear evaluation of ConnectEd’s California Linked Learning District Initiative, an effort to transform high schools in nine districts through programs of study that integrate rigorous academic instruction with a demanding technical curriculum and work-based learning. Caspary is co-principal investigator on SRI’s evaluation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Bridging the Equity Gap program, a pilot initiative intended to increase participation and performance of low-income students in the IB Diploma Programme. Caspary directed SRI’s study of the Early Academic Outreach Program, the largest outreach program that the University of California operates to increase college-going opportunities for underserved student populations.
In addition to SRI’s evaluation of California Linked Learning District Initiative, another of Caspary’s projects that has involved large-scale surveys is a study of the Rural Achievement Education Program (REAP) for the U.S Department of Education. This study of a nationally representative survey of REAP districts will provide the Department of Education with information to improve program operations and technical assistance for rural districts. Caspary also completed an analysis of teacher and principal surveys as part of National Study of the Teacher Incentive Fund, a federal program to increase the use of financial incentives for school administrators and teachers.
Caspary is principal investigator for a formative evaluation of a National Writing Project focused on scientific argumentation in middle school. In partnership with the National Writing Project and the Lawrence Hall of Science, SRI is learning about teacher practices that support middle-grade students’ abilities to engage in scientific argumentation and developing a greater understanding of the role of argumentative writing in teaching and learning science.
Caspary’s past SRI projects included a study of new teacher induction in the Midwest, a comprehensive study of the teaching workforce in California, an analysis of college attendance and bachelor’s degree attainment among International Baccalaureate students, and an analysis of secondary data to evaluate the effectiveness of online learning at the K–12 level.
Before joining SRI, Caspary conducted research on undergraduate admissions policy for the University of California system and managed the University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey, an online survey of all enrolled UC undergraduates. As a researcher at PACE (Policy Analysis for California Education), she directed the qualitative portion of a mixed-methods study of professional development and retention programs for early childhood educators in two California counties. She began her career in education coordinating a volunteer-based tutoring program for the Austin Independent School District Office of Community Education.
Caspary earned her Ph.D. in education from the University of California, Berkeley and holds a master’s degree from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.