Matt Ronfeldt seeks to understand how to improve teaching quality, particularly in schools and districts that serve marginalized students. His research sits at the intersection of educational practice and policy and focuses on teacher preparation, teacher retention, teacher induction, and the assessment of teachers and preparation programs. Ronfeldt is primarily interested in whether and how pre-service teacher education and school/district factors, especially working conditions, are related to the employment, instructional quality, and retention of teachers. His current work mostly employs large-scale, quantitative methodologies, though he engages in qualitative and mixed-methods research as well.
Ronfeldt is currently principal investigator or co-principal investigator on a number of projects. In collaboration with Kavita Kapadia Matsko, and with the support of both the Spencer Foundation and Joyce Foundation, Ronfeldt is studying what characterizes the landscape of pre-service teacher preparation, and especially student teaching, across Chicago and which features of preparation predict the career plans, employment, and instructional effectiveness of recent graduates. In collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Education, and with support from the Institute of Education Sciences, Ronfeldt is helping with efforts to build, use, and learn from a statewide longitudinal data system in order to improve teacher preparation statewide. As part of this collaboration, he is analyzing historical data on teacher preparation to identify promising practices and developing and studying efforts to promote program improvement. Finally, in collaboration with Dan Goldhaber (AIR) and with support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ronfeldt is helping to design two initiatives – one for improving clinical placements and another for improving the feedback that student teachers/residents receive during clinical experiences. In partnership with many teacher education programs across three states, Ronfeldt and colleagues are using experimental methods to test whether these initiatives improve workforce outcomes in subsequent years.
Ronfeldt earned his PhD from Stanford University, where he concentrated on teacher education. After receiving his doctoral degree, he completed two more years at Stanford as an IES postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Research on Educational Policy and Practice (now CEPA), focusing on large-scale quantitative research. Ronfeldt previously taught middle school mathematics and science for seven years.
Teaching Secondary School Mathematics
Prerequisites: Concurrent or previous election of EDUC 391 or equivalent.
Discusses pertinent aspects of recent pedagogical and research literature, as well as new instructional materials, methods, and curricular trends and regarding procedures useful for constructing and improving curricular units.
The Practice of Teaching
Examines and investigates issues related to teacher education as a field of inquiry. Explores how current research agendas might be enhanced and new research agendas created. Topics may include themes and issues in teacher education research; research on teacher education programs, curricula, faculty, and students; and research on student knowledge and beliefs.
Topics in Educational Studies
Prerequisites: Graduate standing.
Foundations of Teaching and Learning
Prerequisites: Doctoral standing or permission of instructor.