Kyra Caspary, Senior Researcher Center for Education Policy | SRI International

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Kyra N. Caspary

Principal Senior Researcher, SRI Education

Kyra Caspary, Ph.D., researches the education pathways that support youth in realizing their career and life goals. Her areas of expertise are reforms for improving education access and outcomes for underserved youth, such as college and career pathways that integrate academic preparation with career technical education; STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) preparation and pathways; and development of the skills and dispositions youth need transition successfully to the workforce and postsecondary education. Her deep and varied methodological expertise incudes evaluation design, survey development and analysis, causal inference, and qualitative data collection and analysis.

Caspary is skilled at integrating quantitative and qualitative data to provide clients with actionable formative feedback for program improvement. In her research on college and career pathways for underserved youth, Caspary leads several projects that leverage survey data, interview and focus group data, document review, and analysis of student record data to provide funders comprehensive feedback on the progress and impact of education initiatives. Caspary co-leads SRI’s evaluation of the Barr Foundation’s Engage New England, a multiyear undertaking to create innovative school models designed to meet the needs of students who are off track to graduate. Though the mixed-methods study, SRI is providing formative feedback for continuous improvement and ultimately will assess whether these innovative strategies are helping students graduate with the competencies they need for a changing workforce. In addition, Caspary co-led a 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’s research on preparation for STEM careers includes a mixed-methods evaluation of Los Angeles City College’s STEM pathway program for increasing Hispanic and low-income students’ participation and success in STEM disciplines. She also led a formative evaluation of a National Writing Project program to develop middle school science teachers’ capacity related to scientific argumentation.

In other research, Caspary examined initiatives to increase access to advanced coursework and postsecondary education for traditionally underrepresented student groups. Caspary codirected SRI’s evaluation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Bridging the Equity Gap project, a pilot intended to increase participation and performance of low-income students in the IB Diploma Programme. She also completed an analysis of college attendance and bachelor’s degree attainment among IB students. Further, Caspary directed SRI’s study of the Early Academic Outreach Program, the University of California’s largest program to increase college-going opportunities for underserved student populations.

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 led a qualitative study of professional development and retention programs for early childhood educators in two California counties. She began her career in education running 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.

Key Projects

  1. Evaluation of the Barr Foundation's Engage New England Initiative
  2. Evaluation of the California Linked Learning District Initiative
  3. Evaluation of Los Angeles City College's Hispanic Serving Institution STEM and Articulation grant
  4. Developmental Study of the National Writing Project’s SEED Science Writing Inquiry
  5. Evaluation of International Baccalaureate’s Bridging the Equity Gap Project
  6. Study of University of California Early Academic Outreach Program
  7. Study of Experiences and Needs of REAP Grantees

Selected Publications

  1. Taking Stock of the California Linked Learning District Initiative: Seventh-Year Evaluation Report
  2. Access & Equity in Linked Learning: A Report on Pathway Access and Academic Outcomes for Traditionally Underserved Students
  3. International Baccalaureate National Trends for Low-income Students 2008–2014
  4. Developing Protocols to Support Collaborative Teacher Reflection and Professional Learning for Science Argument Writing
  5. Promoting Access to College in an Era of Fiscal Constraints: The University of California’s Early Academic Outreach Program
Kyra Caspary