Gail L. Zellman

gail zellman, gail zellman
Senior Behavioral and Social Scientist
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in social and clinical psychology, M.A. in social psychology, B.A. in psychology, University of California, Los Angeles

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Gail L. Zellman is a senior behavioral and social scientist at the RAND Corporation and a social and clinical psychologist. She has years of experience conducting and leading research on child and youth education and policy. Her child care work focuses on policy levers to improve quality of care in out-of-home settings. She co-led a study for the California Department of Education on child care quality improvement systems in the state. Zellman helped the State of California design a child care quality improvement system, conducting research to examine the likely effects of different cut-points and other rating decisions. One focus of this work was the way that indicators differentially affect ratings of preschool and infant/toddler programs. She has evaluated an early child care quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) designed to improve child care quality by analyzing its component measures and conducting a series of validation studies. She analyzed the development and implementation of quality rating systems in five pioneer states and developed recommendations for designing and revising these systems. Zellman has also led numerous studies of the military child care system, and is currently evaluating a P-3 Initiative being implemented in Hawaii. She was a leader on RAND's work to redesign the K-12 system for the state of Qatar. Zellman earned a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed a post-doctoral clinical psychology fellowship.

Recent Projects

  • Measuring child care quality
  • Public-sector accountability systems
  • Social system change
  • Military child care
  • Education reform

Selected Publications

Gail Zellman and Rebecca Kilburn, Final Report on the Hawaii P-3 Evaluation, RAND Corporation (RR-1100), 2015

Gail Zellman and Lynn Karoly, "Improving QRISs through the use of existing data: A virtual pilot of the California QRIS," Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 2014

American Institutes for Research and RAND, Local Quality Improvement Efforts and Outcomes Descriptive Study, AIR, 2013

Dominic J. Brewer et al., Education for a New Era: Design and Implementation of K-12 Education Reform in Qatar, RAND Corporation (MG-548), 2007

Vi-Nhuan Le et al., "Measuring Child-Staff Ratios in Child Care Centers: Balancing Effort and Representativeness," Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 21(3), 2006

Joy S. Moini et al., Providing Child Care to Military Families: The Role of the Demand Formula in Defining Need and Informing Policy, RAND Corporation (MG-387), 2006

Michal Perlman et al., "Examining the Psychometric Properties of the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R)," Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 19(3), 2004

D. Hoffman et al., "Cryopreserved Embryos in the United States and Their Availability for Research," Fertility and Sterility, 79(5), 2003

Recent Media Appearances

Commentary: Honolulu Star-Advertiser; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; U.S. News & World Report


  • Boys study with a shared book at their school in a village outside Sanaa, Yemen, February 2, 2016

    Countering Extremism: Early Childhood Education Forgotten

    Global attention has turned to education as a way to counter extremism. But what has been missing from the conversation is a focus on learning in children's first years, when much brain development occurs. In the Middle East and North Africa, government underinvestment in formal programs for young children is the norm.

    Jun 8, 2016 The National Interest

  • Children reading in a library

    Hawaii Reading Scores Improved After 'Preschool to Third Grade' Initiative

    Hawaii's “preschool to third-grade” initiative significantly improved third-grade reading scores. The P-3 approach is a promising education reform that should be considered by those seeking to improve early education performance.

    Dec 21, 2015 Honolulu Star-Advertiser

  • Elementary students raising their hands in class

    A Comprehensive Approach to Early Education

    A relatively new approach to improving long-term educational outcomes, called “preschool to third grade,” or P-3, focuses on the youngest students. Hawaii's recent initiative has been successful at raising third-grade reading scores.

    Nov 23, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • Private Sector: Dealing with Office Romances

    Private Sector: Dealing with Office Romances, in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    May 8, 2007 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette