Postdoctoral Training Program in Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Methods for Education Research


Mar 01, 2011


Jun 30, 2022
Funding Agency
U.S. Department of Education

The program establishes a Postdoctoral Training Program in Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Methods for Education Research at the University of Michigan. The program will be based at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and led by faculty with appointments at the School of Public Policy, School of Education and Department of Economics. We will train four Postdoctoral Fellows, who will each spend two years in the program. Fellows will receive close mentorship from program faculty; attend courses and specialized training institutes on quantitative methods; participate in seminars and workshops devoted to causal inference in education research; and assist in research projects that will develop skills in experimental and quasi-experimental methods for causal inference. Training will emphasize the use of state longitudinal data systems using techniques that allow for robust causal inference.

Fellows will collect, compile and analyze data; design surveys; participate in research planning; write papers; present results at seminars and professional meetings; and supervise research assistants. The program faculty is engaged in research projects that will expose Fellows to a broad array of topics and methods:

  • (1) The Effect of a Mandatory College-Prep Curriculum on Achievement
  • (2) The Effect of a Merit-Based College Scholarship on Postsecondary Attainment
  • (3) Evaluation of “High Schools That Work”
  • (4) The Effect of Online Learning on Instruction, Student-Teacher Interactions & Achievement
  • (5) Simplifying State College Aid Programs
  • (6) Using Longitudinal Data to Improve Community College & Labor Outcomes
  • (7) Charter Schools, Student Achievement and Postsecondary Attainment
  • (8) Inside the Black Box of Competition: Understanding How Charter Schools Have Affected the Structure and Operations of Traditional Public Schools
  • (9) Private Schools: Understanding the Market and Effect on Student Outcomes
  • (10) Teacher Effectiveness and Human Resource Policies in K-12


Fellows will gain substantive knowledge of policy-relevant topics such as charter schools, online learning, school choice, high school standards, graduation requirements, teacher effectiveness, and postsecondary attainment. IES topic areas addressed by these projects include: Analysis of Longitudinal Data to Support State and Local Education Reform, Middle and High School Reform, Education Policy, Finance and Systems, Mathematics and Science Education, Organization and Management of Schools and Districts, Education Technology, Postsecondary Education, and Teacher Quality. Fellows will learn a variety of specific methodological techniques including randomized controlled trials, instrumental variables, fixed effects, comparative interrupted time series, regression discontinuity analysis, and matching estimators.

The University of Michigan issued a news release announcing this program.

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