Duncan Chaplin

Duncan Chaplin

Principal Researcher
  • Value-added measures for teacher performance evaluations
  • High school graduation rates
  • Experimental and quasi-experimental methods of program evaluation
Focus Areas
  • Quality Improvement
  • Quality Measurement
  • Education
  • School Reform
  • International Research
  • Education and Workforce Development
  • Human Services
About Duncan

Duncan Chaplin’s work focuses on education, international development, and evaluation methods. Within education, he has worked on teacher evaluations, dropout rates, education technology, out-of-school time activities, at-risk youth, and child care. Chaplin’s international development work has focused on estimating impacts of improving access to grid electricity in Africa. Methodologically, he has used a variety of experimental and non-experimental evaluation methods and, more recently, he is evaluating the efficacy of non-experimental methods by comparing their results with those from experiments. One of his current projects is providing guidance to Regional Educational Laboratories in the United States. Internationally, Chaplin recently completed an 8-year evaluation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s energy sector program in Tanzania, and he started a 10-year evaluation of MCC's energy sector program in Ghana in 2017.

Before joining Mathematica in 2005, Chaplin held research positions at the Urban Institute. As an adjunct faculty member at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, he taught several courses and served as an advisor to master’s and doctoral students. Chaplin has served on national committees on high school graduation and dropout rates, the steering committee of the DC Children and Youth Investment Partnership, the board of the Cesar Chavez Public Policy Charter High School, the board for the Foundation for Sustainable Development, and the evaluation advisory board of the BELL Foundation.

Chaplin has published in academic and non-academic journals, including the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, the Journal of Human Resources, Economics of Education Review, the Georgetown Public Policy Review, the Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, the Journal of African American Men, Population: Research and Policy Review, and Rationality and Society. He has also been quoted in many national newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Education Week, the City Journal, PNN Online, Reason Magazine, iMP Magazine, Canoe, and Federal Computer Week.  

Chaplin presents regularly at conferences, including the American Education Finance Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Chaplin received his Ph.D. in labor economics with a focus on econometrics in 1993 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Key Projects
  • Ghana Photo Collage
    Ghana Power Compact Evaluation

    Mathematica is conducting a long-term evaluation of the Ghana Power Compact, a partnership between the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Ghanaian government to strengthen the power sector by improving the reliability of distribution systems and increasing energy efficiency.

  • Tanzania energy sector
    Tanzania Energy-Sector Impact Evaluation

    Mathematica conducted evaluations of two activities and a related initiative under the Tanzania energy-sector project. The activities included laying a new submarine cable to provide a more reliable source of electricity to Unguja Island, extending lines into new areas, and offering low-cost electricity...

  • PA map
    Pennsylvania Teacher and Principal Evaluation Pilot

    We examined practices of teachers who make larger contributions to student achievement growth, reviewed plans for an overall effectiveness measure, described variation in professional practice scores, and examined practices strongly correlated with contributions to student achievement growth.

  • 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.

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