Ben West is pursuing a doctorate in education policy and program evaluation at Harvard University. His research aims to improve our ability to measure teacher working conditions (TWCs) in K-12 educational settings. He also studies the educational effects of TWCs on student academic achievement, social-emotional wellbeing, and behavioral outcomes. His scholarship advocates for an enhanced understanding of racial and socioeconomic disparities in supportive conditions for teaching. By undertaking this research, he hopes to improve the measurement of these inequalities and inform efforts to reverse them.
To address these questions, Ben relies on a range of mixed methods. These include applied quantitative methods for causal inference, psychometric techniques for measurement and validation, and qualitative methods—mainly interviews, focus groups, and surveys. He has advanced working knowledge of data management, workflow, analysis, and graphics in STATA. He applies this knowledge to analyze large-scale datasets from international, federal, state, and local partners.
He is currently pursuing his research with the guidance of his dissertation committee: Martin West (Professor of Education, Harvard University), Andrew Ho (Professor of Education, Harvard University), and Matthew Kraft (Professor of Education, Brown University. Ben was previously awarded the 2018 Partnering in Education Research (PIER) Fellowship, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. This fellowship is designed to train Harvard University doctoral students on how to conduct quantitative education research in partnership with school districts and state education agencies. He was also awarded the 2018 William T. Grant Fellowship for Junior Researchers of Color, which is intended to help researchers of color reach higher levels on the career ladder.
Prior to the commencement of his doctoral studies in 2016, Ben worked on education policy research at the American Institutes for Research. He holds a M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard University (2014), an M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College (2012), and a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University (2010). He is former elementary school teacher through Teach for America and the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.