Maria Stephens

Senior Researcher

Maria Stephens is a senior researcher at AIR. In this capacity, Stephens provides analytic, writing, and other technical support for projects, with two foci in recent years: on coordinating international activities in the area of assessment and indicators and on district-level education reform. Currently, Stephens manages the school review process for the Say Yes to Education effort in the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) and also provides support to the National Center for Education Statistics’ International Activities Program (IAP).

Explore the interactive TIMSS Stats in Brief, co-authored by Stephens, that examines changes between 2011 and 2019 in the achievement gaps between high- and low- performing students.

For AIR’s partnership with Say Yes, she plays a leadership role in conceptualizing site visit data collection, analysis, and reporting for reports on over 30 schools in SCSD. In 2011, she improved the template for the school reports and managed the quality control process again, bringing cohesion across a larger team of writers. In 2012, she managed the transition of the school review activity to that of a research and development activity, with increased collaboration with the district. For IAP, she leads activities to improve the utilization of international data at the domestic level (e.g., developing an international research database, indicator reports, and reports comparing international and domestic assessments) and assists staff in making strategic decisions regarding the future of the Program for International Assessment.

In addition to her work on Say Yes and in the international arena, Stephens has served as writer and editor on numerous projects, including the recent Scientific Evidence in Education Forums project. A sample of other work includes: technical reports comparing the content of national and international mathematics and science assessments; an article for the Canadian and International Education journal on indicators of education outcomes; a chapter in the book Key Competencies for a Successful Life and a Well-Functioning Society; and a primer for the U.S. Agency for International Development on measuring learning outcomes in developing countries. She also is co-editor of Comparing Learning Outcomes: International Assessment and Education Policy (2004) and From Students of Teaching to Teachers of Students: Teacher Induction Around the Pacific Rim (1997).

Maria Stephens

M.P.P., Public Policy, University of Maryland; B.A., Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia