Policy Research

Policy Research

What We Do

The policy research group within The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center conducts research and policy analyses on a wide variety of topics related to college readiness, access, affordability and financial aid, admissions, and college outcomes. In addition to the College Board Mission and the Advocacy & Policy Center’s Goals, our research efforts are governed by five core principles:

  1. We are interdisciplinary by design. Among us and our external collaborators, we represent the fields of economics, education, public policy, and sociology.
  2. We strive to identify causal rather than correlational effects using cutting edge and gold standard quantitative methods from the field of social science research. In non-causal analyses, we use appropriate statistical techniques to eliminate well-understood sources of bias and error.
  3. We work with the best datasets available, including myriad restricted-use datasets from the National Center for Education Statistics, institution-specific student longitudinal data sets, state-level data, and College Board data on AP, PSAT, and SAT participants linked to their collegiate outcomes from the National Student Clearinghouse.
  4. We strive to employ a mixed methods approach to research and partner our quantitative results with qualitative evidence where possible.
  5. In order to successfully bridge the gap between research and policy/practice, we adhere to the scientific method to insure that our results are sound, replicable and publishable by the top academic journals in our fields and clearly translate the research evidence in a jargon-free Brief Series.

Our current portfolio of projects seeks to generate a body of evidence on how to effectively remove or reduce the barriers that students encounter at various stages in the education pipeline. Our research always explores differential impacts by race/ethnicity, gender, income and socioeconomic status so that we may be explicit in our recommendations of which policies and programs work (and perhaps work differentially) for various types of students.

Brief Series

Literature Brief: Organized around a topic area, Literature Briefs highlight trusted research and existing empirical evidence, and identifies the most pressing questions for further examination.

Policy Brief: Organized around a particular policy or issue, Policy Briefs highlight potential implications of changing policy or incentives on outcomes.

Analysis Brief: Organized around a topic area or other College Board initiatives, Analysis Briefs provide data analysis and context, without including specific policy recommendations.

Research Brief: Organized to showcase findings from new studies of primary research, highlights new qualitative or quantitative empirical evidence on a particular topic; strive to be less than 15 pages in length, but may link to a technical appendix or accompanying research paper online.

Insight Brief: Organized around a topic area, Insight Briefs present ideas from leading scholars on the most pressing and timely education policy questions.

Policy Research Team

Executive Director of Policy Research
Associate Policy Research Scientist
Associate Policy Research Scientist
Senior Policy Research Analyst

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