John F. Pane

Distinguished Chair in Education Innovation; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School; Senior Scientist
Pittsburgh Office


Ph.D. and M.S. in computer science, B.S. in electrical and computer engineering and mathematics, Carnegie Mellon University

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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John F. Pane is Distinguished Chair in Education Innovation and senior scientist in RAND Education. Pane researches the implementation and effectiveness of innovations in education, with a focus on personalized learning, education technology, math, and science. His expertise includes the application of experimental and rigorous quasi-experimental methods. He has led or co-led numerous experiments using individual-level or school-level random assignment, including a large-scale effectiveness trial of mathematics tutoring software in 147 schools in 51 school districts in seven states; and several efficacy experiment, including an experiment examining the effects of summer learning programs in five urban school districts. He also leads quasi-experimental evaluations of schools implementing personalized learning models, and of Investing in Innovation and Race to the Top District projects in rural Kentucky that are using technology to increase student readiness for college and careers.

Previously, he co-directed the Carnegie Mellon and RAND Traineeships in Methodology and Interdisciplinary Research (CMART), an IES postdoctoral training program, and led evaluations of a NSF math and science partnership and a school district's one-to-one laptop initiative, investigated data-driven decisionmaking practices in education, and studied the effects of the 2005 hurricanes on public school students in Louisiana.

Sponsors of his research have included the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, the U.S. Army, the Heinz Endowments, and the Grable, Pittsburgh, and Benedum Foundations. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.

Previous Positions

Project Scientist, Carnegie Mellon University

Recent Projects

  • Experimental studies of the implementation and effects of technology-based mathematics curricula
  • Study of the implementation and outcomes of innovative personalized learning school models
  • Experimental evaluation of summer learning programs
  • Study of the implementation of data-driven decisionmaking practices in schools
  • Evaluation of a school district's one-to-one laptop computer initiative

Selected Publications

Augustine, C. H., McCombs, J. S., Pane, J. F., Schwartz, H. L., Schweig, J., McEachin, A., & Siler-Evans, K., Learning from Summer: Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Urban Youth, RAND Corporation (RR-1557), 2016

John F. Pane, Elizabeth D. Steiner, Matthew D. Baird and Laura S. Hamilton, Continued Progress: Promising Evidence on Personalized Learning, RAND Corporation (RR-1365), 2015

John F. Pane, Beth Ann Griffin, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Rita Karam, "Effectiveness of Cognitive Tutor Algebra I at Scale," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 36(2):127-144, 2014

John F. Pane, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Mary Ellen Slaughter, Jennifer L. Steele, and Gina S. Ikemoto, "An Experiment to Evaluate the Efficacy of Cognitive Tutor Geometry," Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 3(3):254-281, 2010

John F. Pane, Valerie L. Williams, Stuart S. Olmsted, Kun Yuan, Eleanor Spindler, Mary E. Slaughter, Math Science Partnership of Southwest Pennsylvania: Measuring Progress Towards Goals, RAND Corporation (MG-857-AIU), 2009

John F. Pane, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Nidhi Kalra, Annie J. Zhou, "Effects of Student Displacement in Louisiana During the First Academic Year After the Hurricanes of 2005," Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 13(2-3):168-211, 2008

Julie A. Marsh, John F. Pane, Laura S. Hamilton, Making Sense of Data-Driven Decision Making: Evidence from Recent RAND Research, RAND Corporation (OP-170), 2006

Kerri A. Kerr, John F. Pane, Heather Barney, Quaker Valley Digital School District: Early Effects and Plans for Future Evaluation, RAND Corporation (TR-107), 2003

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Baton Rouge Advocate; Bloomberg News; Christian Science Monitor; EdSurge; Education Week; KPCC Pasadena; Louisiana Radio Network; Mindshift by KQED San Francisco; New York Times; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; Sirius Satellite Radio

Commentary: Education Week


  • A teacher discussing a mathematics problem with her student

    What Emerging Research Says About the Promise of Personalized Learning

    Personalized learning could lead to improved student outcomes. But those implementing this approach should temper their expectations for how big these benefits will be—and be patient while the benefits emerge. It's also important to consider the challenges of implementation.

    Aug 16, 2017 Brookings Institution's Brown Center Chalkboard

  • A teacher helps a high school student work on a laptop

    Helping Pittsburgh Stay on the Cutting Edge of Education Innovation

    Local organizations, educators, and leaders are creating remarkable learning experiences for Pittsburgh's young people, and other cities around the country are striving to replicate their innovations.

    May 8, 2016 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • A teacher and student in a classroom looking at a laptop

    Technology Is Only Part of Personalized Learning

    The concept of personalized learning has gained favor in recent years, partly because new technology applications help to facilitate it. But those who characterize this instructional approach as

    Mar 4, 2016 The RAND Blog

  • Teacher helping a high school student on a computer

    Making Room for New Approaches: Recommendations for ESEA Reauthorization That Support Innovation

    As lawmakers consider the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it is critical that in meeting their objectives they do not create unnecessary obstacles to the productive innovations being explored at schools, such as personalized learning.

    Jan 27, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • hurricane

    Helping Displaced Students in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

    If Hurricane Sandy causes extensive disruptions in public schools—particularly in hard-hit New York City—our research shows that choices made by parents and policymakers could significantly limit the negative short-term effects of changing schools under such difficult circumstances, writes John Pane.

    Oct 31, 2012 The RAND Blog

  • When Students Disappear...

    Published commentary by RAND staff: When Students Disappear..., in Education Week.

    Feb 21, 2007 Education Week