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Principal Associate, Social & Economic Policy

Beth Boulay has 15 years of experience using robust evaluation tools and methods to generate evidence practitioners need to make critical decisions. Her work includes designing and conducting research aimed at identifying effective education interventions that promise to improve student achievement and education outcomes. She has led large-scale, complex evaluations that use a range of research methodologies to assess the impact of policies and programs. Boulay also provides evaluation technical assistance to help increase local evaluators’ capacity to produce rigorous evidence of program effectiveness and implementation fidelity.

Her current work focuses on supporting federal agencies and local decision makers. She has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Education to ensure that its $1.7 billion investment in more than 260 grantees produces a return of high quality evidence to the field. Her team helps grantees incorporate rigorous evaluation into their implementation of innovative approaches to improving education. The team also supports grantees in reporting findings to the field. She is committed to disseminating the tools and guidance developed for wide distribution and to building capacity among practitioners to generate and use evidence.

She serves on the Board of Directors for the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness and as an editor for its publication, the Journal for Research on Educational Effectiveness.

Boulay led the National Evaluation of Facing History and Ourselves, a large multi-site randomized controlled trial of the impact of the non-profit group’s professional development program on teachers and their students. She directed the analysis of a school-level, quasi-experimental evaluation of the Expanded Learning Time initiative in Massachusetts. She also was a key member of the team that used a regression discontinuity design to analyze the impact of the Reading First Program. Boulay led the Striving Readers Technical Assistance project, for which Abt was recognized by the Institute of Education Sciences for the quality of its technical assistance to local evaluators of 16 Striving Readers Programs.


  • Education policy and program evaluation
  • Evaluation technical assistance
  • Experimental and quasi-experimental design
  • Implementation studies
  • Data analytic techniques

Key Projects

  • Education, Innovation and Research Technical Assistance Project, US Department of Education (ED), Institute of Education Sciences (IES)
  • i3 Technical Assistance and Evaluation Project, ED, IES
  • First in the World Technical Assistance Project, ED, IES
  • Striving Readers Technical Assistance, ED, IES
  • Experimental study of the impacts of Facing History and Ourselves,  Facing History and Ourselves
  • Quasi-experimental evaluation of the effects of expanded learning time in Massachusetts, MA Department of Education
  • Reading First Impact Study, ED


  • Boulay, B., Goodson, B., Olsen, R., McCormick, R., Darrow, C., Frye, M., Gan, K., Harvill, H., & Sarna, M. (2018). The Investing in Innovation Fund: Summary of 67 Evaluations: Final Report (NCEE 2018-4013). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
  • Boulay, B., Goodson, B., Frye, M., Blocklin, M., and Price, C. (2015) “Summary of research generated by Striving Readers on the effectiveness of interventions for struggling adolescent readers.” (NCEE 2016-4001) Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
  • Barr, D.J., Boulay, B., Selman, R.L., McCormick, R. Lowenstein, E., Gamse, B., Fine, M., & Leonard, M.B. (2015) A Randomized Controlled Trial of Professional Development for Interdisciplinary Civic Education: Impacts on Humanities Teachers and Their Students. Teachers College Record Volume 117 Number 4, 2015.
  • Checkoway, A., Boulay, B., Gamse, B., Caven, M., Fox, L., Kliorys, K., Luck, R., Maree, K., Velez, M., & Woodford, M. (2011). “Evaluation of the Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time Initiative: Year Four Integrated Report.” Prepared for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, under Contract to CT-DOE-115100ABTASSOC000247. Cambridge, MA: Abt Global Inc.
  • Gamse, B., Jacob, R.T., Horst, M., Boulay, B., & Unlu, F. (2008). “Reading First Impact Study: Final Report” (NCEE 2009-4038). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
  • Bempechat, J., Boulay, B.A., Piergross, S., & Wenk, K. (2008). “Beyond the Rhetoric: Understanding Achievement and Motivation in Catholic School Students.” Education and Urban Society, 40(2), 167-178.
  • Moss, M., Rulf-Fountain, A., Boulay, B., Horst, M., Rodger, C., & Brown-Lyons, M. (2008). “Reading First Implementation Evaluation: Final Report.” Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service, U.S. Department of Education.
beth boulay