Michelle
Maier
Research Associate, Family Well-Being and Children’s Development Policy Area

Maier’s research focuses on enhancing young children’s early care and educational experiences so that they are better prepared for school academically, socially, and emotionally. As a research associate, she has extensive experience in the design, start-up, impact, implementation/field research, and measurement activities for a variety of research projects, most of which are focused on early childhood education programs that support development and school readiness in children from low-income families. Maier is project director of Head Start Connects, a descriptive study funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that examines the coordination of family support services in Head Start programs. She is the deputy project director of Expanding Children’s Early Learning — Quality project and the HHS-funded Variations in Implementation of Quality Interventions project, both of which are three-group, random assignment studies examining the effect of different dimensions of quality on child outcomes. She leads measurement on the Expanding Children’s Early Learning P-3: Promoting Sustained Gains from Preschool to Third Grade study, where she is developing an aligned curriculum-fidelity tool for use in preschool through third-grade classrooms in Boston. She has led the implementation and measurement teams on Making Pre-K Count, which examined the effects of a preschool mathematics program. She received a grant from the Foundation for Child Development’s Young Scholars Program to conduct What Matters Most for Teachers and Young Children, a secondary data analysis of Making Pre-K Count data where she is examining associations among teacher professional development, specific teacher practices, and child outcomes, and describing patterns of teacher practice as they naturally occur. She also coauthored a literature review examining the effect of family involvement on children’s learning. Maier received her PhD in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami, where she was an Institute of Education Sciences Predoctoral Fellow. Before joining MDRC, Maier was a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia.