Sonia Ilie

Research Leader
Cambridge Office


Ph.D. in education, University of Cambridge; M.Phil. in educational leadership and school improvement, University of Cambridge; B.A. in integrated social sciences, Jacobs University Bremen

Media Resources

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Sonia Ilie is a research leader in education at RAND Europe, where she leads evaluations of educational programmes looking to address socio-economic gaps in school attainment. Her responsibilities include providing leadership and developing research designs for experimental, quasi-experimental, and survey-based research projects, and providing statistical analysis advice and guidance for randomised controlled trials and other large-scale evaluations in education. 

She holds a concurrent appointment at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, as senior research fellow, where she studies educational inequality and leads a programme of research evaluating educational interventions seeking to improve access, participation, and outcomes in higher education.

Ilie has published widely on inequality in education using large-scale survey and administrative data and has extensive experience undertaking quantitative and mixed-methods research that addresses policy questions, as well as teaching advanced applied statistical methods. She holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of Cambridge.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Senior Research Fellow, University of Cambridge

Recent Projects

  • Evaluating the Accelerated Reader Scheme
  • Evaluation of NELI, the evidence-based Nuffield Early Language Intervention
  • Evaluation of Aspire to STEM
  • Understanding the impact of peer-assisted learning strategies

Selected Publications

Alex Sutherland, Miriam Broeks, Megan Sim, Elena Brown, Eleftheria Iakovidou, Sonia Ilie, Hannes Jarke, Julie Belanger, Digital Feedback in Primary Maths - Evaluation Report, Education Endowment Foundation, 2019

Vermunt, J.D., Ilie, S., & Vignoles, A., "Building the foundations for measuring learning gain in higher education: a conceptual framework and measurement instrument," Higher Education Pedagogies, 3(1), 2018

Ilie, S., Sutherland, A., & Vignoles, A., "Revisiting Free School Meal eligibility as a proxy for pupil socio-economic deprivation.," British Educational Research Journal, 43(2), 2017

Rose, P. M., Sabates, R., Alcott, B. M., & Ilie, S., Overcoming inequalities within countries to achieve global convergence in learning., Education Commission, 2017

Ilie, S. & Rose, P., "Is equal access to higher education in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa achievable by 2030?" Higher Education, (72), 2016

Hoskins, K. & Ilie, S. "Widening Participation to Underrepresented and Disadvantaged Students: Social Identity and the Barriers to Higher Education Access in England," in Shah, M. & Whiteford, G. (Eds.) , Bridges, Pathways and Transitions: International Innovations in Widening Participation, Chandos/Elsevier, 2016

Howe, C., Ilie, S., Guardia, P., Hofmann, R., Mercer, N. & Riga, F., "Principled improvement in science: Forces and proportional relations in early secondary-school teaching. ," International Journal of Science Education, 37(1), 2015