Karen Shakman

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Karen Shakman
Research Scientist

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453



Karen Shakman, an experienced researcher and evaluator, specializes in advancing the field's knowledge of educator effectiveness systems and illuminating barriers and facilitators to sustaining K-12 education reforms. She brings significant expertise in collaborative research and works to deepen practitioners' understanding of program evaluation, research design, and data analysis.

As the lead researcher for the REL Northeast & Islands Northeast Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance (NEERA), Shakman has studied New Hampshire’s pilot educator evaluation system and served as the Principal Investigator of a study that examined links between educator evaluation and professional learning in a large district. For the REL Northeast & Islands, she has developed and published a series of workshops designed for district- and state-based practitioners about logic models for effective program design, implementation, and evaluation (access the toolkit to learn more) and another workshop on continuous improvement processes in education. Shakman has also provided coaching to a group of districts engaged in continuous improvement projects and facilitated regional support for states’ implementation of their equitable access plans.

Shakman has served as an evaluator for several projects, including the Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s District Level Systems Change initiative and several formative evaluations of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals’ educator evaluation system. She served as project director for the Illinois State Board for Education’s Local Assessment Support project, an initiative designed to support educators to develop high-quality, classroom-based assessments that they may use as part of their performance evaluation.

She has published her work in American Journal of Education and Teacher Education in Practice and presents her research at national conferences. She is the co-author of several comprehensive reports on teacher evaluation and related issues, including 1) Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning: Lessons from Early Implementation in a Large, Urban District; 2) Redesigning Teacher Evaluation: Lessons from a Pilot Implementation; 3) Teacher Demographics and Evaluation: A Descriptive Study in a Large Urban District; 4) Principals’ Time, Tasks, and Professional Development: An Analysis of Schools and Staffing Survey Data; 5) Logic Models for Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation: Workshop Toolkit; 6) Changing Cultures and Building Capacity: An Examination of Performance-Based Teacher Evaluation Systems in Five States; and 7) Navigating Change: Massachusetts High School Reform in Challenging Times. She is a co-author of the chapter “Teacher Education for Social Justice” in The Handbook of Social Justice in Education.

Shakman was a Massachusetts Education Policy Fellow in 2013-14, and before joining EDC, she served as a Research and Policy Analyst at Teachers21, specifically working with the Massachusetts Statewide Working Group for Educator Excellence. Earlier in her career, she worked with Marilyn Cochran-Smith at the Boston College Lynch School of Education as a Research Fellow on the Carnegie Foundation’s Teachers for a New Era grant program and taught elementary, middle, and high school.

Shakman received her BA from Northwestern University, her MEd from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst 180 Days program, and her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the Lynch School of Education at Boston College.