Brian M. Stecher

Photo of Brian Stecher
Senior Social Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in education, University of California, Los Angeles; M.A. in mathematics, University of Oregon; B.A. in mathematics, Pomona College

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

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Brian Stecher is a senior social scientist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research focuses on measuring educational quality and evaluating education reforms, with a particular emphasis on assessment and accountability systems.

During his 25 years at RAND, Stecher has directed prominent national and state evaluations of No Child Left Behind, mathematics and science systemic reforms, and class size reduction. His measurement-related expertise includes test development (prototype performance assessments for teacher certification, hands-on science tasks for middle school students), test validation (the quality of portfolio assessments in Vermont and Kentucky), and the use of assessments for school improvement (formative and interim assessments, the quality of classroom assessments, and measures of interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies).

Stecher has presented findings to policymakers at the state and national level, to practitioners, and to the public. He has served on expert panels relating to standards, assessments, and accountability for the National Academies, and is currently a member of the Board on Testing and Assessment. He has published widely in professional journals and is currently a member of the editorial board of Educational Assessment. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Recent Projects

  • Evaluation of the Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching
  • Electronic Portfolios to Measure Science Instruction
  • Measuring Hard-to-Measure Competencies
  • The Impact of Performance Incentives in Teaching
  • National Longitudinal Study of No Child Left Behind

Selected Publications

B. M. Stecher and L. S. Hamilton, Measuring Hard-to-Measure Student Competencies: A Research and Development Plan, RAND (RR-863), 2014

L. S. Hamilton, H. Schwartz, B. M. Stecher and J. Steele, "Improving Accountability Through Expanded Measures of Performance," Journal of Educational Administration, 51(4):453-475, 2013

Stecher, B.M. et al., A Culture of Consequences: Performance-Based Accountability Systems for Public Services, RAND (MG-1019), 2010

Stecher, B.M. & Vernez, G., Reauthorizing No Child Left Behind: Facts and Recommendations, RAND (MG-977), 2010

Hamilton, L.S. & Stecher, B.M. "Expanding what counts when evaluating charter school effectiveness," in Betts, J.R. & Hill, P.T., Taking the measure of charter schools: Better assessments, better policymaking, better schools, Rowman and Littlefield, 2010

Martínez, J.F., Stecher, B., and Borko, H., "Classroom Assessment Practices, Teacher Judgments, and Student Achievement in Mathematics: Evidence from the ECLS," Educational Assessment, 14:78-102, 2009

Stecher, B. M., Le, V., Hamilton, L. S., Ryan, G., Robyn, A., and Lockwood, J. R., "Using structured classroom vignettes to measure instructional practices in mathematics," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 28(2):101-130, 2006

B. M. Stecher and L. S. Hamilton, "Responding Effectively to Test-Based Accountability," Phi Delta Kappan, 85(8), 2004

Honors & Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, California Educational Research Association

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: ABC; Associated Press; Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Christian Science Monitor; Los Angeles Times; NPR; Washington Post

Commentary: Education Week; Los Angeles Times;