A political scientist who made the transition into educational policy research after more than a decade of research on both the Northern Ireland conflict and the political transformation of Europe after 1989, Martha Mac Iver has focused her recent research on the transition to high school and the effectiveness of numerous school and district educational interventions designed to improve student achievement. She recently led two five-year IES-funded studies, one to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of professional development equipping high school teachers to increase student motivation in order to successfully earn all required course credits, and the other on continuous improvement of family engagement efforts focused on improving student outcomes in the transition to high school. She also collaborated on recent IES-funded studies of an adolescent literacy intervention and an early warning system intervention to improve ninth grade attendance and course passing. She is currently a co-PI on a U.S. Department of Education-funded study of an 8th grade “Skills for Secondary School Success” social emotional learning intervention.
From 2012-15 Mac Iver led a three-year external evaluation for an Investment in Innovations (i3) development project (summer school STEM program). She also led a study helping several Colorado districts understand the behavioral characteristics of their dropout populations in 2008-09, and held a senior urban research fellowship (2009-11) from the Council of the Great City Schools to study dropout predictors in Baltimore.
From 2004-07 she was a co-investigator on a National Science Foundation-funded study of the achievement effects of a decade of educational reforms in Philadelphia. Mac Iver has also studied educational reform efforts in the Baltimore City public schools for nearly three decades, and has worked closely with the Baltimore Education Research Consortium. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk (JESPAR).
Keywords: Absenteeism; dropout prevention; family; high schools; K-12 education; early warning systems.