Jennifer O’Day is a Principal Research Scientist and policy analyst in the Education Program of the American Institute for Research. Dr. O’Day has carried out research and written extensively in the areas of systemic reform, educational equity, and capacity building strategies. She has served on several national advisory groups, including the Congressionally mandated Independent Review Panel for the National Assessment of Title I (1994-2000), the Stanford Working Group on Federal Programs for Limited English Proficient Students, and more recently the Education Commission of the State’s National Forum on Accountability. Dr. O’Day has also served on design and technical work groups for the national evaluation of the Eisenhower professional development program, the National Longitudinal Survey of Schools and the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration (CSRD) Program, the Special Emphasis Panel on evaluation for the National Science Foundation, the National Evaluation of State Technical Assistance, and the National Evaluation of Title I Accountability. She has co-authored reports for the National Council on Educational Standards and Testing (NCEST) and the National Academy of Education and has advised policy makers in several states on issues and strategies related to standards-based reform. During the 1990′s, Dr. O’Day was the Associate Director and a member of the Pew Forum on Standards-Based Reform.
Much of Dr. O’Day’s recent research has centered on school improvement, capacity building, and accountability in standards-based reform. She was one of three co-principal invstigators for the OERI multi-state study of capacity building in state systemic reform. For the past seven years, Dr. O’Day has directed considerable attention to the role of educational incentives and accountability in school improvement, co-editing (with Susan Fuhrman) a volume on this topic entitled Rewards and Reform: Creating Educational Incentives that Work (Jossey-Bass, 1996). Her research in this area has targeted accountability-based interventions in low performing schools. In this vein, Dr. O’Day has served as Principal Investigator/Project Director for several large school accountability studies: an OERI-funded investigation of school reconstitution; a study and report for the Planning and Evaluation Service of the U.S.D.E. on coherence between Title I accountability and local and state accountability systems; a three-year study of school probation in Chicago Public Schools, funded by the Spencer Foundation; and, most recently, the legislatively mandated independent evaluation of California’s Public School Accountability Act of 1999. A recent outcome of this line of research has been her article in the Fall 2002 issue of the Harvard Educational Review on the theoretical and empirical connections among complexity theory, accountability policies and school improvement. Before joining AIR, Dr. O’Day was Assistant Professor of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a senior researcher with the Consortium on Policy Research in Education (CPRE).