Jennifer McCombs is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on evaluating the extent to which public policies and programs improve outcomes for at-risk children and youth. Her studies combine implementation and outcome data to provide practitioners and policymakers guidance on how to improve programs and promote positive outcomes. Over the course of her career she has studied educator effectiveness, school improvement, and test-based promotion policies. She has extensive experience in studying out-of-school time systems and programs. She led an evaluation of the development of city-wide out-of-school time systems and recently completed a systematic evidence review on summer programs based on the evidence tiers specified in ESSA. She currently leads a longitudinal study of five urban districts’ summer learning programs that included a randomized controlled trial contract, extensive implementation data collection and analyses, and formative guidance to districts and their community partners.
McCombs is a frequent advisor on summer and after school programs and has served as a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Summertime Experiences and Child and Adolescent Education, Health, and Safety; the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE) Technical Work Group; the National Summer Learning Association Research Advisory Committee; and Horizon’s National Research Advisory Group.
McCombs is also the director of the Behavioral and Policy Sciences Department and is responsible for the hiring, professional growth, and support of over 200 professional researchers located in four major offices and in offsite locations. She earned her Ph.D. in public policy from The George Washington University.
Augustine, C.H, McCombs, J.S., Pane, J.F., Schwartz, H.L, Schweig, J.S., McEachin, A., Siler-Evans, K. , Learning From Summer: Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-income Urban Youth, RAND (RR-1557-WF), 2016
McCombs, J.S., Pane, J, Augustine, C.H., Schwartz, H.L., and Zakaras, L, Ready for Fall? Near-Term Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Students Learning Opportunities and Outcomes, RAND (RR-815), 2014
Augustine, C.H., McCombs, J.S., Schwartz, H.L., and Zakaras, L, Getting to Work on Summer Learning, RAND (RR-366), 2013
McCombs, J.S., Augustine, C.H., Schwartz, H.L., Bodilly, S.J., McInnis, B., Lichter, D.S., and Cross, A, Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children's Learning, RAND (MG-1120), 2011
McCombs, J.S., Auger, A., Yoo, P, The Value of Out of School Time Programs, RAND (PE-267-WF), 2018
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