Sarah Ryan

Email Sarah Ryan

Sarah Ryan
Senior Research Associate

Mailing Address: 

43 Foundry Avenue
Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-8313



Sarah Ryan brings expertise in policy research and program evaluation, including specific expertise in research design and quantitative methodology. Ryan specializes in college and career readiness and success, including student-centered and personalized approaches to secondary education, and also has substantive expertise in English learner education, group-level disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes, and school reform and accountability. In past and current research, Ryan has worked collaboratively with partners ranging from the U.S. Department of Education and state and local education agencies to community college districts and philanthropic educational foundations.

Prior to joining EDC, Ryan was an Institute of Education Sciences research fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. While at Carnegie Mellon, Ryan led research to develop measures of social capital among youth in the context of postsecondary transitions, with funding from the Spencer Foundation. Ryan was also involved research addressing the impact and implementation of blended courses in community colleges, and discusses this work in a 2016 interview with the Community College PathBefore transitioning to a career in education research, Ryan spent six years as a teacher and administrator in K–12 public schools, where she worked primarily with English learners and their families.

Ryan is the principal investigator on a multi-year study investigating variability in student exposure to key principles of student-centered learning, with funding from Jobs for the Future. In partnership with 10 New England school districts, this research will explore the relationship between exposure to key principles of student-centered learning and student outcomes. Ryan is also the principal investigator for several studies with the REL Northeast & Islands research alliances, including the Northeast College and Career Readiness Alliance, for which Ryan recently led a collaborative survey development process with school leaders and teachers from four states. Building on this research, Ryan is engaged in research with three school districts in the Northeast as they pilot this student survey, which addresses student beliefs about and experiences with competency-based learning.

Ryan is the author or co-author of several publications, including recent articles in the American Educational Research Journalthe Community College Journal of Research and Practice and the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. She serves as a peer-reviewer for various journals and is a certified reviewer for the What Works Clearinghouse.

Ryan received a BA in education and Spanish from Edgewood College, an MS in English language acquisition and bilingual education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a PhD in education policy from the University of California-Riverside.