Julia H. Kaufman

Photo of Julia Kaufman
Policy Researcher
Pittsburgh Office


B.A. in English literature, University of Pittsburgh; M.A. in teaching, University of Pittsburgh; Ph.D. in international education, New York University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

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Julia Kaufman is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on how states and school systems can support high-quality instruction and student learning, as well as methods for measuring educator perceptions and instruction. She is currently leading or co-leading several projects focused on curriculum and instruction, including the American Instructional Resources Survey (AIRS) study and a study of how coherent instructional systems are connected to English language arts achievement among Latinx, Black and low-income students. She previously led investigations of how Louisiana state policies are implemented and connected to educational improvement; how the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are understood and implemented in schools; and the costs associated with strong school principal pipelines. Kaufman has also served as a researcher for projects intended to support school administrators and teachers to learn from data and continuously improve, and she has led projects to develop innovative measures of instructional practice in areas of mathematics instruction and student-centered learning. Prior to coming to RAND, Kaufman's research focused on the main factors that support teachers' use of inquiry-based mathematics curricula and the extent to which survey measures can accurately capture teachers' instruction. She holds a Ph.D. in international education from New York University and an M.A. in teaching from the University of Pittsburgh.

Recent Projects

  • Evaluating new and improved pipelines for preparing, selecting and hiring first-year teachers
  • Developing measures of student-centered learning in classrooms and schools
  • An investigation of Louisiana Department of Education strategies and outcomes
  • The American Instructional Resources Survey (AIRS)
  • Characteristics of coherent instructional systems and their relationship to outcomes for Black, Latinx, low-income and English-learner designated students

Selected Publications

Coburn, CE; Russell, JL; Kaufman, JH & Stein, MK, "How teacher social capital shapes the implementation of innovative standards-based mathematics curricula," American Journal of Education, 119(1), 2012

Stein, MK & Kaufman, JH, "Selecting and supporting the use of mathematics curricula at scale," American Educational Research Journal, 47(3), 2010

Kaufman, JH & Stein, MK, "Teacher learning in a shifting policy environment for instruction," Educational Policy, 24(4), 2010

Kaufman, JH, "The interplay between social and cultural determinants of school effort and success," Social Science Quarterly, 85(5), 2004

Kaufman, J.H., Stein, M.K. & Junker, B.J., "Factors associated with alignment between teacher survey reports and classroom observation ratings of mathematics instruction," Elementary School Journal (forthcoming)

Ryan, S., Kaufman, J.H., Greenhouse, J.B., She, R. and Shi, J., "The effectiveness of blended online learning courses at the community college level," Community College Journal of Research and Practice (forthcoming)

Kaufman, J.H., Engberg, J., Hamilton, L., Yuan, K. and Hill, H., "Validity evidence supporting use of anchoring vignettes to measure teaching practice," Educational Assessment, 2019

Honors & Awards

  • 2018 RAND Bronze Medal Award
  • Outstanding Dissertation Award, New York University


  • A teacher and a student presenting to class, photo by FatCamera/Getty Images

    Elevating Teacher Voices, Along with Their Salaries to Professionalize Teaching in Louisiana

    Salary raises have a direct impact on teachers' day-to-day lives. But efforts like those in Louisiana to elevate teachers' voices, and not just their salaries, are more likely to make a real difference for the teaching profession by creating a clear career ladder. The state's efforts could also be cultivating a teaching force that is providing students with the curricula and instruction they need to achieve at higher levels.

    Sep 18, 2019 The RAND Blog

  • Teacher Darcy McKinnon teaches math to her seventh grade class at Samuel J. Green Charter School in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 22, 2006

    Louisiana's Education System Is Evolving: Here's What Parents Need to Know

    Louisiana has taken big steps to improve its education policies and the education of the state's children, from birth to grade 12. Parents can help their children benefit from the reforms by being informed about the changes and knowing how to take advantage of new resources.

    Sep 12, 2018 The Advocate

  • Closeup shot of a young man writing on a note pad

    Giving State Educators What They Need to Stand Apart—and Together

    States have an opportunity to provide better instructional materials to teachers hungry for more resources aligned with state standards. By focusing on what they agree students should learn, states could work together to build curricula and shore up other key supports.

    Apr 4, 2017 U.S. News & World Report

  • Retro grunge principal's office

    Principals in Small Districts Receive Far Less 'Instructional Leadership' Support, Survey Shows

    Until recently, little was known about how much support principals in the United States receive to be effective “instructional leaders.” A national survey shows that mentors and supervisors do provide feedback focused on principals' role in teaching and learning, but the amount varies.

    Aug 16, 2016 U.S. News & World Report

  • Teacher using a tablet in a classroom while students work on desktop computers

    Inspiring Better Teacher Planning and Instruction or Just Adding Noise?

    Teachers can and should have the freedom to select and develop at least some of their own instructional resources. But whether sites like Amazon Inspire will actually save teachers time and help them find high-quality resources is up for debate.

    Jul 20, 2016 The RAND Blog