Cassandra M.D. Hart


Portrait of Cassandra Hart

Cassandra Hart is an associate professor of education policy. She evaluates the effects of school, state and national education programs, policies, and practices on overall student achievement, and on the equity of student outcomes. Hart’s work has focused on online education in both K-12 schools and community colleges, school choice programs, school accountability policies, and effects on students of exposure to demographically similar teachers. She is currently working on a study funded by the Spencer Foundation looking at responses to COVID-19 in California community colleges and a study funded by the Institute of Education Sciences looking at the relationship between professional development for online instruction and online student outcomes.

Hart received her PhD from the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University in 2011.


2011: Ph.D., Human Development and Social Policy, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University

2006: Master of Public Policy, with honors
Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago

2002 Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Honors thesis completed
School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Fellowships, Grants and Awards (Selected)

  • 2021-2025.  Institute for Education Sciences. (Lead Principal Investigator, with Co-Principal Investigators Di Xu, Rachel Baker, and Kim D’Arcy). Online Instructor Professional Development and Student Outcomes in Community Colleges. (2021-2025). $1,698,340
  • 2020-2021. Spencer Foundation. (Principal Investigator). COVID-19 in California Community Colleges: College Responses, College Resources, and Student Outcomes. $47,728
  • 2019-2020. Smith Richardson Foundation. Competitive Effects of Charter Schools. (Co-Principal Investigator, with Principal Investigator David Figlio and Co-Principal Investigator Krzysztof Karbownik,) $210,000
  • 2019. Thomas A. Downes Award. Awarded by the Association for Education Finance and Policy for best article published in Educational Finance and Policy in the prior year.
  • 2019. Outstanding Reviewer Award. Educational Researcher.
  • 2016. Emerging Education Policy Scholar. American Enterprise Institute and Thomas B. Fordham Institute
  • 2015-2017 Institute for Education Sciences, Virtual Courses: The Introduction and Expansion of Virtual Schooling in Florida and its Effects on Student Outcomes. (Principal Investigator, with Principal Investigators Brian Jacob and Susanna Loeb, $1,600,000)
  • 2015-2016. National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2012 Jean Flanigan Outstanding Dissertation Award, Honorable Mention (Association for Education Finance and Policy)
  • 2011 Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management Ph.D. Dissertation Award, Honorable Mention
  • 2010-11 Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship
  • 2007-2010. Institute for Educational Sciences Predoctoral Fellowship, Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences


Figlio, D.N., Hart, C.M.D., & Karbownik, K. (Forthcoming). Effects of Maturing Private School Choice Programs on Public School Students. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Hart, C.M.D., Linden, R., Jacob, B.A., & Loeb, S. (Forthcoming). Online Course-Taking and Expansion of Curricular Options in High Schools. Peabody Journal of Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/0161956X.2023.2160108

Gershenson, S., Hart, C.M.D., Hyman, J., Lindsay, C., & Papageorge, N.W. (2022). The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 14(4): 300-342. http://doi.org/10.1257/pol.20190573

Hart, C.M.D., Xu, D., Hill, M., & Alonso, E. (2021). COVID-19 and Community College Instructional Responses. Online Learning, 25(1): 41-69.

Hart, C.M.D. (2020). An Honors Teacher Like Me: Teacher-Student Demographic Match Effects on Advanced Course Enrollment and Performance. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 42(2): 163-187. https://doi.org/10.3102/0162373719898470

Cooper, S., Hart, C., Kurlaender, M., Rios-Aguilar, C., Rodriguez, F.C., & Sublett, C. (2020). Turning on a dime: California Community College transformation in response to COVID-19. Research Brief for Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research 5(2). August 2020.

Hart, C.M.D., Berger, D., Jacob, B., Loeb, S., & Hill, M. (2019). Online Learning, Offline Outcomes: Online Course-Taking and High School Student Performance. AERA Open, 5(1): 1-17.

Hart, C.M.D., Friedmann, E.A.Z., & Hill, M. (2018). Online Course-taking and Student Outcomes in California Community Colleges. Education Finance and Policy. 13(1): 42-71.

Lindsay, C.A., & Hart, C.M.D. (2017). Exposure to Same-Race Teachers and Student Disciplinary Outcomes for Black Students in North CarolinaEducational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. 39(3): 485-510.

Lindsay, C.A., & Hart, C.M.D. (2017). Teacher race and school discipline. Education Next, 17(1).

Jacob, B., Berger, D., Hart, C., & Loeb, S. (2016). Can Technology Help Promote Equality of Educational Opportunities? RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences. 2(5): 242-271.

Hart, C.M.D., & Figlio, D.N. (2015). School accountability and school choice: Effects on student selection across schools. National Tax Journal. 68(3S): 875-900.

Hart, C.M.D., & Sojourner, A.J. (2015). Unionization and Productivity: Evidence from Charter Schools. Industrial Relations, 54(3): 422-448.

Hart, C.M.D. (2014). Contexts matter: Selection in means-tested school voucher programs. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 36(2): 186-206.

Figlio, D. & Hart, C.M.D. (2014). Competitive effects of means-tested school vouchers. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 6(1): 133-156.

Shager, H., Schindler, H., Magnuson, K.A., Duncan, G.J., Yoshikawa, H., & Hart, C.M.D. (2013) Can research design explain variation in Head Start research results? A meta-analysis of cognitive and achievement outcomes. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 35(1): 76-95.

2010 Figlio, D., Hart, C.M.D., & Metzger, M. (2010). Who uses a means-tested scholarship and what do they choose? Economics of Education Review 29(2): 301-317.

2008: Mendenhall, R., Kalil, A., Spindel, L.J. & Hart, C.M.D. (2008). Job loss at mid-life: Managers and executives face the “new risk economy.‟ Social Forces 87(1): 185-209.

Working Papers

Hart, C.M.D., Hill, M., Alonso, E.A., & Xu, D. (Under Review). “I Don’t Think the System Will Ever Be the Same”: Distance Education Leaders’ Predictions and Recommendations for the Use of Online Learning in Community Colleges Post-COVID.
Working paper version: https://edworkingpapers.com/ai22-687

Professional Affiliations

  • Association of Education Finance and Policy

  • American Education Research Association


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