Jennifer Sloan McCombs

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Associate Director, RAND Education; Senior Policy Researcher; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Washington Office


Ph.D. in public policy, The George Washington University; B.A. in East Asian studies, College of William and Mary

Media Resources

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Jennifer McCombs is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, associate director of RAND Education, and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her education research focuses on the extent to which a public policies and programs improve outcomes for at-risk students. She currently co-leads a multi-district randomized controlled trial that investigates the potential of voluntary, district-run summer learning programs to improve student achievement and social and emotional outcomes. This study examines the implementation and effectiveness of summer learning programs in Boston, Dallas, Duval County, Pittsburgh, and Rochester. Over the course of her career, McCombs has studied how to improve teacher effectiveness through teacher training, coaching, and incentives; the implementation and impact of test-based promotion policies; the effects of federal accountability policies on schools, classrooms, and students; and the development of city systems to support out-of-school-time programs. McCombs earned her Ph.D. in public policy from The George Washington University.

Recent Projects

  • Summer learning demonstration randomized controlled trail (RCT)
  • Intensive Partnership Sites evaluation
  • Out-of-school time systems building evaluation
  • New York City's test-based promotion policy evaluation
  • Middle school reading coaches evaluation

Selected Publications

Jennifer Sloan McCombs et al., Hours of Opportunity: The Power of Data to Improve After-School Programs Citywide, RAND (MG-1037/1), 2010

Jennifer sloan McCombs et. al., Ending Social Promotion Without Leaving Children Behind, RAND Corporation (MG-894), 2009

Jennifer Sloan McCombs et al., Achieving State and National Literacy Goals a Long Uphill Road: A Report to Carnegie Corporation of New York, RAND Corporation (TR-180-1), 2005

Sheila Nataraj Kirby et al., Reforming Teacher Education: Something Old, Something New, RAND Corporation (MG-506), 2002

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Education Week