Impact Evaluations Panel

Northeastern University’s Public Evaluation Lab (a collaboration between the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research and the Institute for Race and Justice) and the Greater Boston Evaluation Network co-sponsored a panel presentation on impact evaluations on February 5th at Northeastern University.  This collaboration brought together five internal and external evaluation leaders who have recently implemented Randomized Control Trials or quasi-experimental impact evaluations.  The presentation explored what drives the decision to engage in an impact evaluation, how to choose methodology, lessons learned about communicating results, and how barriers of implementing this evaluation method.  The panel was attended by Northeastern faculty, staff, and students as well as members from a wide range of Boston area community organizations.

Impact evaluations panel - NU-PEL Northeastern University

Left to right: Alisa Lincoln (Director of the Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research), Laurie Dopkins, Lisa Goldblatt Grace, Amy Farrell, Jessica Britt, Ira Nichols-Barrier, Jack McDevitt.


Jessica Britt joined the Research and Evaluation practice are on the national program team at Year Up in 2015.  She oversees and leads technical assistance and project management support for large-scale, external, impact evaluations.  Year Up’s mission is to close the opportunity divide between millions of young adults who are partially or completely disconnected from school or work, and millions of middle-skill, entry-level opportunities that require talent.  Since 2007, Year Up has conducted a series of gold-standard randomized controlled trials to fairly and objectively study the impact of their program on their students’ long-term success.

Jack McDevitt, is the Director of Northeastern University’s Institute on Race and Justice.  He is also a professor of the practice in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice (SCCJ).  In the beginning of September 2016 the Boston Police Department collaborated with Anthony Braga, Director of SCCJ, Jack McDevitt, and Greg Zimmerman, Associate Professor in SCCJ with PHD students to develop a missed methods studying including a randomized controlled trial of its pilot implementation of body worn cameras worn by patrol officers.

Ira Nichols-Barrier is a Senior Researcher at Mathematica.  He conducts large evaluations of school choice policies and practices, in addition to evaluations in developing and post-conflict countries.  Mathematica Policy Research conducted the first large-scale evaluation of Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) schools (the nation’s largest privately operated network of public chart schools) in 2010.  KIPP’s non-profit network serves thousands of predominantly low-income and minority students with the goal of helping student develop the knowledge, skill and character to strengths they need to success throughout their K-12 education and in college.  Mathematica has conducted several subsequent experimental and non-experimental studies examining the network’s effectiveness.

Lisa Goldblatt Grace, is the Co-founder and Executive Director of My Life My Choice (MLMC), a program of JRI.  Since 2002, My Life My Choice (MLMC) is a groundbreaking, nationally recognized initiative designed to stem the tide of the commercial sexual exploitation of adolescents. My Life My Choice offers a unique continuum of survivor-led services spanning provider training, exploitation prevention programming for vulnerable adolescent girls, survivor mentoring to young victims of commercial sexual exploitation, and advocacy and leadership development.  Researchers from Boston University School of Public Health and Northeastern University conducted a multi-year, multi-site evaluation of the MLMC interventions.  Amy Farrell, a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University and Assistant Director for the Institute on Race and Justice was one of the lead researchers on this evaluation.

Northeastern University’s Public Evaluation’s Executive Director, Laurie Dopkins was the moderator of the panel.