Brenda Arellano is a senior researcher at AIR. She has more than 15 years of experience utilizing her methodological expertise through quasi-experimental and mixed method designs, as well as survey design and analysis through the utilization of district, state, and national longitudinal data systems. Dr. Arellano is a co-primary investigator and project lead for several studies under the Regional Educational Laboratories Southwest, funded through the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). These studies include work investigating growth patterns in English/Spanish proficiency for English learner students, examining the role of noncognitive factors in student transitions to high school, and documenting program need and availability for a student-funded prekindergarten program in New Mexico. In addition, Dr. Arellano provides analytic technical assistance in the Texas Comprehensive Center, using quantitative research methods to develop instruments, evaluation plans, logic models, and data reporting strategies to assess implementation and effectiveness of school improvement efforts and the preparation of new teachers. Dr. Arellano also serves as the interim project lead on the development of a peer review guide and literature review to support the Title III English language proficiency assessment and accountability system with the U.S. Department of Education.
Much of Dr. Arellano’s expertise in examining achievement gaps for students extends to her doctoral work, where she focused on using large, extant datasets through the National Center for Education Statistics to examine longitudinal trends and achievement gaps of Latino, English learner students, and dropouts. She has also worked with the research and evaluation divisions of several organizations, including the Los Angeles Unified School District and the California Charter School Association, where she provided guidance on survey development and on the implementation of a charter school accountability system, tracked achievement gaps of minority and special education students through state and district-level data, and participated in the design and analysis of a parent involvement program evaluation. Dr. Arellano was an IES postdoctoral fellow focusing on methodological training in cognition, reading, math, and instructional research for children with learning disabilities where she worked on two IES grant projects: a) research focused on Response to Intervention implementation and alternative assessment systems, as well as b) tracking and analyzing bilingual students at-risk for learning disabilities. She also participated in the IES Summer Research Training Institute on Cluster Randomized Trials.