This page is optimized for a taller screen. Please rotate your device or increase the size of your browser window.

Hofer, Ph.D.

Principal Associate

Dr. Kerry Hofer has almost 20 years of experience conducting rigorous research in early childhood settings. Dr. Hofer has in-depth knowledge of large-scale childcare programs, including public state-run prekindergarten programs and Head Start/Early Head Start, as well as more informal care settings.  She has worked with early educational programs and staff across the country.  Dr. Hofer has been a key member on several large-scale projects funded by organizations such as the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institutes of Health, primarily focusing on analytic techniques with quantitative data. The majority of her research involves rigorous quantitative evaluations of early educational programs and practices targeted at children from impoverished families, focusing on program impact and model delivery.

Based just outside of Atlanta, Dr. Hofer has spent the majority of her career evaluating the implementation and impact of early education and care initiatives. This includes directing the Early Learning Study @ Harvard (ELS@H), a longitudinal study following a state-representative sample of young children, and supporting the Massachusetts Department of Education’s development of a new statewide continuous quality improvement framework.

Prior to joining Abt, Dr. Hofer was a Senior Associate at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody Research Institute. There, she worked on several large-scale federally funded grant projects focused on early education initiative evaluations, including serving as the Lead Analyst on the Tennessee Voluntary Prekindergarten Program evaluation, the only randomized control trial of a scaled-up state-funded pre-k program.


  • Child development
  • Early childhood education/care
  • Early care classroom/program quality
  • Rigorous program evaluation
  • Large-scale data collection

Key Projects:

  • Evaluation of Strong Start:  Massachusetts Early Childhood Support Organization Initiative, New Profit/Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
  • Massachusetts Early Education and Care Supports
  • Massachusetts Preschool Expansion Grant Evaluation
  • Technical Assistance for Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Evaluations, Institute of Education Sciences (IES)
  • Early Learning Study @ Harvard (ELS@H), Harvard University


  • Gonzalez, K. E., Hanno, E. C., Cuartas, J., Jones, S. M., Lesaux, N. K., Hofer, K., Checkoway, A., & Goodson, B. (2020). How are they Faring? Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Lives of Families and Young Children in Massachusetts. Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
  • Dickinson, D. K., Nesbitt, K. T., & Hofer, K. G. (2019).  Effects of language on initial reading:  Direct and indirect associations between code and language from preschool to first grade.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 49, 122-137.
  • Hofer, K. G., Checkoway, A., Goodson, B., & Nichols, A. (2018).  Massachusetts Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) Impact Evaluation Report.  Cambridge, MA:  Abt Global Inc.
  • Lipsey, M. W., Farran, D. C., Hofer, K. G. (2015).  A Randomized Control Trial of a Statewide Voluntary Prekindergarten Program on Children’s Skills and Behaviors through Third Grade (Research Report).  Nashville, TN:  Vanderbilt University, Peabody Research Institute.
  • Lipsey, M. W., Weiland, C., Yoshikawa, H., Wilson, S. J., & Hofer, K. G. (2015).  The prekindergarten age-cutoff regression-discontinuity design:  Methodological issues and implications for application.  Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 37 (3), 296-313.  doi:  10.3102/0162373714547266
kerry hofer