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Principal Associate

Liam Ristow is a mixed methods evaluator with 20+ years of evaluation experience in the areas of K-12 and postsecondary education, services for disconnected youth, and community-level change initiatives addressing health and homelessness. He has extensive experience designing and conducting complex multi-year implementation and outcome evaluations for clients at the federal, state and local levels. Ristow brings particular expertise in design of data collection protocols, qualitative data collection and analysis, and development of relevant, actionable evaluation reports.

At Abt, Ristow designs and leads impact, implementation, and descriptive evaluations of education interventions, programs, and policies, with a focus on improving outcomes for all students. He provides direction and leadership on evaluations of programs that contribute to continuous improvement efforts and systems change at the national and local levels.

Before joining Abt, Ristow was a Principal Research Associate at Westat, where he led the evaluation of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Comprehensive Center. He led or contributed to high-quality evaluations for clients such as the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Illinois State Board of Education, Appalachian Regional Commission and New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. For IES, Ristow provided project management and technical leadership for studies addressing improved instruction for students with disabilities and innovative student assessments.


  • Actionable research in education, homelessness, and health
  • K-12 and postsecondary education policy
  • Mixed methods evaluation
  • Evaluation reporting and dissemination
  • Instrument design

Key Projects:

  • Evaluation of the National Comprehensive Center 
  • Impact Study of Teacher Professional Development to Improve Instruction and Academic Outcomes for Students with Disabilities 
  • Anti-Poverty Program Evaluation and Research for New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity 
  • Evaluation of Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) Pilot Program


  • Troppe, P., Osowski, M., Wolfson, M., Ristow, L., Lomax, E., Thacker, A., & Schultz, S. (2023). Evaluating the Federal Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority: Early Implementation and Progress of State Efforts to Develop New Statewide Academic Assessments. Rockville, MD: Westat (for U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance)
  • Ristow, L., Chen, E., & Miyaoka, A. (2021). Supporting Opportunity Youth in New York City: Evidence from the Young Adult Literacy Program. Rockville, MD: Westat (for New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity)
  • Ristow, L., Zacharia, J., & McKithen, C. (2019). Early Implementation of the Cornerstone High School Mentoring Program.  Rockville, MD: Westat (for New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity)
  • Harps, S., Ristow, L., Evans, M., McKithen, C., Rose, B., & Wills, K. (2019). Evaluation of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Leadership and Community Capacity Projects FY 2008 – FY 2015. Rockville, MD: Westat (for Appalachian Regional Commission)
Liam Ristow