The What Works Clearinghouse collects, reviews, and reports on studies of education interventions. The growing focus on evidence-based decision making has increased demand for this type of information.
- Evaluation of Education and School-Based Programs and Interventions
- Data Collection and Survey Development
- Supervision and Mentoring of Junior Staff
- Systematic Evidence Reviews
- Developmental Psychology
- Family Support
- Youth Development
- Human Services
Martha Bleeker has expertise in designing and conducting impact evaluations of education and school-based programs for government agencies and foundations, using both experimental and quasi-experimental methods. She has studied the impact of interventions on children’s and adolescents’ academic outcomes, social-emotional well-being, physical activity, health-related outcomes, and career plans.
Since joining Mathematica in 2005, Bleeker has worked on the design, data collection, analysis, and dissemination of findings for several studies. She has served as the deputy project director and survey director on an evaluation of the Harlem Children's Zone’s Healthy Harlem obesity prevention initiative and an evaluation of the Playworks program, which places full-time coaches in schools to provide opportunities for organized play during recess and throughout the school day. She also served as the survey director for the evaluation of the Roads to Success Program, a college- and career-readiness program for students at high-poverty rural middle and high schools.
Bleeker has conducted systematic reviews for the What Works Clearinghouse since 2008. She serves as the product lead for all What Works Clearinghouse topic areas that evaluate research on education interventions. She is also the lead methodologist for the topic areas focused on interventions for students with disabilities, providing group design and single-case design methodological support to reviewers, reconciling study reviews, assigning effectiveness ratings to interventions, and writing intervention reports. She has developed training materials and guidance documents for single-case design reviewers and leads single-case design training and certification.
Before coming to Mathematica, Bleeker worked for many years on projects aimed at increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In 2015, she served on the project planning committee for a conference focused on girls’ math identity and participation in STEM, which was funded by the National Science Foundation.
In addition to her project work, Bleeker supervises Mathematica’s survey research associates. She holds a Ph.D. in human development and family studies with a minor in statistics from Pennsylvania State University.
Supporting New Teachers: Evaluating Teacher Induction Models
This five-year rigorous evaluation of the impact of teacher induction programs focused on two high-intensity teacher induction models and involved 1,009 teachers in 418 elementary schools in 17 medium and large urban school districts in 13 states.
Playworks: Student and School Outcomes
Full-time coaches in low-income schools provide opportunities for organized play during recess and throughout the school day. Activities engage students in physical activity, foster social skills, improve ability to focus on class work, decrease behavioral problems, and improve school climate.
Evaluation of the Harlem Children's Zone Healthy Harlem Initiative
The Healthy Harlem initiative is a model for promoting healthy lifestyles in the charter schools, early childhood programs, and afterschool programs operated by the Harlem Children’s Zone® (HCZ). Mathematica's evaluation includes both an implementation/process study and an impact study.
New Study Reveals Healthy Harlem Program Led to Increased Physical Activity and Improved Weight Status for Overweight and Obese Students
For overweight and obese middle and high school students enrolled in Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) after-school programs, participation in Healthy Harlem led to sustained positive impacts on physical fitness and weight status, according to interim findings from Mathematica.
Hard Work on the Playground
The Playworks program places full-time coaches in low-income schools in order to organize and direct play during recess and the school day. Mathematica studied the effects of the the Playworks program over the course of two school years (2010-2012). Results of this rigorous study were published in four...