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Lynch School of Education

Katherine Shields

lynch school of education

Katherine Shields

Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Undergraduate Institution/degree received:  B.A. in English, Harvard University
LSOE program and concentration: Ph.D., Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation

What did you do before studying at LSOE?

I started my education career at a family literacy program, and have focused on youth and adult education ever since. Most recently before joining LSOE, I evaluated workforce development programs for a state agency, helping program staff to develop and carry out evaluations, including a nursing career ladder initiative and job training for youth in the juvenile justice system. Previously, I was a research analyst for a higher education learning collaborative, and a curriculum designer for public health programs in Africa, Asia and the U.S.

What are your research interests?

Coming out of my experiences in adult basic education, I remain focused on how we can increase equity and access to postsecondary education, particularly for students who leave high school with inadequate basic skills. My interests include building more effective models for college developmental (or remedial) education, improving the validity of college placement tests and policies, and facilitating transitions from GED programs to college.

What led you to pursue graduate studies at the Lynch School of Education?

I like the focus on applied quantitative methods and the small, supportive community in my department. Because faculty are accessible and classes are small, we have lots of opportunities for hands-on learning.

How have you gained practical experience at the Lynch School of Education?

I am a graduate research assistant at BC’s Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation, and Educational Policy (CSTEEP). As a member of Dr. Laura O’Dwyer’s evaluation team for a project that teaches elementary school students about evolution through computer-based models, I help design psychometrically sound surveys and analyze assessment results. This assistanceship has given me the opportunity to collect data at schools, learn new analysis techniques and statistical software packages, and contribute to published papers.

What are your career goals?

Using the quantitative skills I learn here at BC, I hope to address college access issues as an applied researcher and evaluator in the nonprofit or public sector.