Martha Bleeker

Martha Bleeker

Senior Survey Researcher
Areas of Expertise
  • Designing and conducting impact evaluations of school-based programs
  • Experimental and quasi-experimental methods
  • Developmental psychology
  • Education
About Martha

Martha Bleeker has expertise in designing and conducting impact evaluations of school-based programs using both experimental and quasi-experimental methods.

Bleeker currently is the deputy project director for the evaluation of the Harlem Children's Zone -Healthy Harlem initiative, an obesity prevention and treatment program implemented in after-school programs and early child care programs. She led the design of all data collection instruments for the impact study, helps coordinate the data collection effort at 20 after-school programs and early childhood centers, and is part of the analysis and report-writing team. She also served as the deputy project director and survey director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s rigorous evaluation of Playworks, a program that places full-time coaches in low-income schools to provide opportunities for organized play during recess and throughout the school day. She managed a large team administering student and teacher surveys and collecting school records, physical activity data via accelerometers, and recess observation data from 29 elementary schools in 10 school districts. For the evaluation of the Roads to Success Program, a college and career-readiness program for students in grades 7 through 12 at high-poverty rural schools, she developed and fielded three student surveys with 2,000 middle school students in 16 school districts and also coordinated the collection of administrative records.

For the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Bleeker serves as the task leader for topic area intervention reports and co-leads single case design training and certification. In these roles, she provides operational and substantive oversight, monitors production, and provides guidance on WWC design standards to reviewers who are evaluating research on school-based interventions.

Widely published, Bleeker presents at professional conferences such as the Society for Research in Child Development, Society for Research on Adolescence, American Evaluation Association, American Educational Research Association, Great Teachers for Our City Schools, and the Society for the Study of Human Development. She also served on the project planning committee for a conference focused on girls’ math identity and participation in STEM, which was funded by the National Science Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. in human development and family studies, with a minor in statistics, from Pennsylvania State University.

Key Projects
  • What Works Clearinghouse
    What Works Clearinghouse

    The What Works Clearinghouse collects, reviews, and reports on studies of education interventions. The growing focus on evidence-based decision making has increased demand for this type of information.

  • Promise Neighborhoods Case Studies

    Mathematica conducted in-depth, multi-method case studies that focused on five of the Promise Neighborhood grantees, which provided short-term formative input to efforts to improve the program.

  • High school math teacher in classroom with students
    Roads to Success

    Mathematica conducted a rigorous random assignment evaluation of Roads to Success measuring the impacts on educational and career aspirations and plans, planning skills, and attendance rates.

Latest News
  • Playworks children on playground
    Hard Work on the Playground

    The Playworks program places full-time coaches in low-income schools in order to organize and direct play during recess and the school day. Mathematica studied the effects of the the Playworks program over the course of two school years (2010-2012). Results of this rigorous study were published in four...