MDRC - Research Assoc
For the past 10 years, Susan Sepanik has been a research associate at MDRC. MDRC is a nonprofit social policy research organization dedicated to finding solutions to some of the most difficult problems facing the nation by designing promising new interventions, evaluating existing programs using rigorous research, and providing technical assistance to build better programs and deliver effective interventions at scale. Focused on improving educational outcomes for low-income students, Sepanik has been a lead researcher on several evaluations from smaller scale implementation and formative feedback studies on newly developed interventions, to large-scale evaluations of the impacts of high-profile educational reform models on students’ academic success. Her research has focused on college and career readiness and transitioning into college, whole school reform models to turnaround struggling secondary schools, early warning indicator systems and supports for students falling off track to graduation, adolescent reading programs for struggling readers, and teacher professional development.
At present, she is project director of the Diplomas Now Investing in Innovation (i3) Evaluation, a federally-funded implementation and impact study of the Diplomas Now middle and high school reform model being implemented in struggling urban schools in 11 cities across the country, and the AVID South Florida Collaborative i3 evaluation, a developmental study of the AVID college readiness program and vertical alignment system being implemented in three rural Florida school districts. She has worked on several evaluations during her tenure at MDRC, including the federally-funded Enhanced Reading Opportunities impact study (evaluating the impacts of literacy programs for struggling ninth grade readers) and two professional development impact studies for second-grade reading teachers and seventh-grade math teachers, along with evaluations of Formative Assessments of Student Thinking in Reading (FAST-R) program in Boston Public Schools, and the Getting Ready for Success college readiness program in Tacoma, Washington. As a lead member of the analysis team on each of these projects, she has been responsible for supporting the creation of logic models and implementation fidelity measures, managing qualitative and quantitative data collection, creating surveys and other research tools, analyzing program effects, coauthoring several reports, and disseminating findings.