Brian M. Stecher

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Adjunct Social Scientist
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in education, University of California, Los Angeles; M.A. in mathematics, University of Oregon; B.A. in mathematics, Pomona College

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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Brian Stecher is an adjunct social scientist at the RAND Corporation. His research focuses on measuring education quality and evaluating education reforms, with a particular emphasis on assessment and accountability systems.

During his 30 years at RAND, Stecher has directed evaluations of large-scale educational reforms, including No Child Left Behind (U.S. Department of Education), the Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching (Gates Foundation), mathematics and science systemic reforms (National Science Foundation), and Class Size Reduction (California Department of Education). Stecher has done extensive research on measuring educational practices and outcomes, including developing assessments (prototype performance assessments for teacher certification, hands-on science tasks for middle school students), validating tests (the quality of portfolio assessments in Vermont and Kentucky), studying the use of assessments for school improvement (formative and interim assessments, measures of interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies), and developing alternative measures of instructional practice (vignette-based survey items, mathematics and science teacher notebooks, and electronic tablet-based science teacher portfolios).

Stecher has published widely in professional journals, and he has served on expert panels related to standards, assessments, and accountability. He received his Ph.D. in education from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Recent Projects

  • The TALIS Video Study
  • Electronic Portfolios for Measuring the Quality of Science Instruction
  • Evaluation of the Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching
  • Repository of Measures of Social and Emotional Learning
  • National Longitudinal Study of No Child Left Behind

Selected Publications

L. S. Hamilton, H. Schwartz, B. M. Stecher and J. Steele, "Improving Accountability Through Expanded Measures of Performance," Journal of Educational Administration, 51(4), 2013

Martínez, J.F., Stecher, B., and Borko, H., "Classroom Assessment Practices, Teacher Judgments, and Student Achievement in Mathematics: Evidence from the ECLS," Educational Assessment, 14, 2009

Stecher, B. M., Le, V., Hamilton, L. S., Ryan, G., Robyn, A., and Lockwood, J. R., "Using structured classroom vignettes to measure instructional practices in mathematics," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 28(2), 2006

B. M. Stecher and L. S. Hamilton, Measuring Hard-to-Measure Student Competencies: A Research and Development Plan, RAND (RR-863), 2014

Stecher, Brian M., Frank Camm, Cheryl L. Damberg, Laura S. Hamilton, Kathleen J. Mullen, Christopher Nelson, Paul Sorensen, Martin Wachs, Allison Yoh, Gail L. Zellman, and Kristin J. Leuschner, Toward a Culture of Consequences: Performance-Based Accountability Systems for Public Services, RAND Corporation (MG-1019), 2010

Stecher, B.M. & Vernez, G., Reauthorizing No Child Left Behind: Facts and Recommendations, RAND (MG-977), 2010

Hamilton, L.S. & Stecher, B.M. "Expanding what counts when evaluating charter school effectiveness," in Betts, J.R. & Hill, P.T., Taking the measure of charter schools: Better assessments, better policymaking, better schools, Rowman and Littlefield, 2010

Stecher, Brian M., Michael S. Garet, Laura S. Hamilton, Elizabeth D. Steiner, Abby Robyn, Jeffrey Poirier, Deborah J. Holtzman, Eleanor S. Fulbeck, Jay Chambers, and Iliana Brodziak de los Reyes, Improving Teaching Effectiveness: Implementation: The Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching Through 2013–2014, RAND Corporation (RR-1295-BMGF), 2016

Honors & Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement Award, California Educational Research Association
  • Outstanding Publication Award, American Educational Research Association, Division H

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: ABC; Associated Press; Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Christian Science Monitor; Los Angeles Times; NPR; Washington Post

Commentary: Education Week; Los Angeles Times;