Girl working on a math problem at chalkboard

Maryland Equity Project (MEP)


The Maryland Equity Project generates and synthesizes research on key issues related to educational opportunity in Maryland and nationally. We use research and policy analysis to define and understand current educational issues, and translate and communicate important new research for policymakers, advocates, and the public.


Current Research Projects

Examining Recruitment Policies and Pathways to Diversify the Teacher Workforce 

Funder: Institute of Education Sciences (2021-2024)

Research identifies large benefits of access to same-race/ethnicity teachers for Black and Hispanic students. However, the teacher workforce is overwhelmingly White, and little is known about the system-level strategies that are successful at diversifying the profession. In this project, researchers will explore three "grow-your-own" programs and pathways that school districts and higher education institutions have implemented at different stages of the school-to-career pipeline in the hopes of recruiting Black and Hispanic individuals into the profession: (i) early exposure to teaching for high school students and an opportunity to enroll in dual enrollment credits toward a teaching credential; (ii) financial scholarships to attract college students to pursue a teaching major; and (iii) alternative-route teacher certification programs that aim to recruit career changers already working in or in close proximity to schools. Drawing on statewide data from Maryland, the research team will quantitatively link access to or participation in these programs to desired education and workforce outcomes, namely the probability that an individual of color earns a teaching credential or becomes a teacher of record.

Education and Experience: Do Teacher Qualifications in Career-Focused STEM Courses Make a Difference? 

Funder: National Science Foundation (2021-2023)

When high school students take “STEM-CTE” (i.e., career and technical education courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields), they have much stronger outcomes across the school-to-college/career pipeline, including lower dropout rates and better attendance in high school, stronger math achievement in 12th grade, and higher odds of pursuing advanced STEM courses in high school and college. Growing teacher research shows that teachers matter for students’ success, particularly in STEM. In particular, research has established that teacher education and credentials in STEM fields, as well as years of classroom teaching experiences are key teacher factors in supporting student outcomes. However, there has been limited prior research regarding (a) who teaches STEM-CTE courses and (b) whether the benefits of these courses and pathways are driven or influenced by specific characteristics of STEM-CTE teachers. Using high school statewide longitudinal data from Maryland from 2012-2022, this study will first document who has taught STEM-CTE courses over this period. After exploring the teaching landscape, the study will then explore whether qualifications (i.e., education, credentials, teaching experience) of teachers in STEM-CTE high school courses were associated with their students’ success. Indicators of success in the dataset include end-of-course grades, STEM-CTE concentration/industry-recognized credentialing, advanced STEM coursetaking (e.g., honors, AP, IB, dual-enrollment), STEM standardized test scores, math SAT/ACT scores, attendance/suspension rates, on-time graduation, and reduced dropout.

UMB CURE Connections: An integral link in a Baltimore minority STEMeducation pipeline 

Funder: National Institutes of Health (2021-2023)

The UMB CURE Scholars Program is a groundbreaking year-round program that seeks to empower middle school and high school students in West Baltimore for competitive and rewarding research, health care, and STEM-related career opportunities. With a focus on academic and career success, UMB CURE Scholars is setting a path toward empowering students in Baltimore's underserved and vulnerable communities. The program is committed to mentoring, training, and empowering students toward high academic achievement, college entrance, and a competitive and rewarding future in research, STEM, or health care professions. In the current project, the research team is conducting an impact evaluation to examine the longitudinal outcomes of UMB CURE students compared to those who did not take part in the program.

Disparities in Investments in Children and Youth in the United States 

Funder: Spencer Foundation (2019-2023)

Our proposal is motivated by the goal of equipping policymakers with information on where and how to invest scarce resources in the service of alleviating inequality, closing opportunity gaps, and increasing the long-term life outcomes of underserved populations of children and youth in the United States (U.S.). We will build on a broad and important literature on inequality with three related contributions to the field. First, we will identify where – in which sectors (i.e., education, health) and parts of the life cycle (i.e., early childhood, K-12) – disparities in investments in children from different backgrounds (e.g., high versus low income, white versus racial minority) are largest. To do so, we will compile descriptive data from several nationally representative or populations surveys, aggregating data to standardized or monetary units. Second, for investment areas (e.g., early childhood health, K-12 education) where disparities are largest, we will conduct a thorough review of the impact evaluation literature of a broad set of human capital interventions targeted at that specific area. Restricting to studies that support causal inferences, we will conduct formal meta-analyses to get pooled estimates of the average effect of interventions on outcomes. Third, we will connect our original evidence on investment disparities (from phase one) to our meta-analytic estimates of program impacts (from phase two) to guide policymakers making decisions about where additional resources may get the best “bang for the buck” (i.e., are both effective and efficient).

Research-Practice Partnership to Support Early Literacy Success 

Funder: Institute of Education Sciences (2019-2022)

The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) has worked to increase student reading proficiency in the early elementary grades but has found it difficult to help the lowest performing students in grade 1 and 2 reach proficiency by grade 3. The partnership team will carry out two studies on K-3 students' reading achievement and the factors linked to reading achievement. First, through a secondary analysis of administrative data on students, teachers, and schools from three merged databases (student, teacher, and school), the team will do both a cross-sectional analysis for K-3 students in 2018-19 and a longitudinal analysis of the student cohort in kindergarten in 2015-16 through grade 3 in 2018-19. Second, the team will collect and analyze primary data (observations, interviews, and questionnaires) from three pairs of demographically matched elementary schools (each pair will include one school performing higher than expected in reading achievement and one underperforming school).

Research Findings 

Archived Data Reports and Policy Briefs