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Senior Research Associate
A member of WestEd's Evaluation Research Program, McCrary also has expertise in project management, research design, education database management, and quantitative and qualitative analytic methods.
He is directing an evaluation of a collaborative effort among Chicago Public Schools (CPS), National Louis University, and the Academy of Urban School Leadership. McCrary and colleagues are developing new and augmenting existing teacher development pipelines through an urban teacher residency program focused on providing high-quality teachers in turnaround schools.
McCrary also is evaluating CPS's Community Schools Initiative — specifically, the initiative's approach to enhancing the roles of schools as community centers for both students and families, with campuses open mornings, afternoons, evenings, weekends, and summer. McCrary also is leading WestEd's efforts, in collaboration with The Century Foundation, to examine the effects of socioeconomic-based integration on student achievement.
Recently, McCrary served as the lead analyst in WestEd's evaluation of the Federal Comprehensive School Reform (CSR) program. Researchers demonstrated that reforms in CSR schools were neither comprehensive nor did they show differences in achievement gains than a closely matched group of comparison schools. The research team did find, however, that those schools that adopted school reform models with a research base were likely to yield some achievement gains.
McCrary also evaluated the effect of the implementation of the America's Choice school reform model in 34 schools in Arkansas. Additionally, he completed a formative and summative evaluation of a collaborative effort among the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, and WestEd along with seven participating states. Researchers developed and piloted a method to align standards, assessments, and instruction between English language learners and their regular program counterparts. The formative feedback was useful in helping project leaders steer the project toward completion.
McCrary has worked in research units in a large urban school district, a state education agency, and the federal government. He worked for the U.S. Department of Education (ED), where he oversaw a national evaluation of the federal CSR program. Also, while at ED, McCrary directed and participated in research studies focusing on the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act and its impact on education outcomes. He also coauthored the National Assessment of Title I, which presents findings from the congressionally mandated National Assessment of Title I on the implementation and impact of the program.
Prior to working at ED, McCrary served as the Interim Director of Research Services for the Baltimore City Public School System (BCPSS), where he managed the research team, participated in various district committees, and authored reports. For example, he authored a report on the alignment among the Maryland School Assessment (MSA), the TerraNova, and teacher-assigned course grades, which then served as the basis for removing the TerraNova from BCPSS and developing promotion criteria based on the MSA and grades.
McCrary has extensive experience with education databases, which he used to develop enrollment projections and track student movement through the BCPSS, as well as prepare the state of Georgia's student databases for analyses by tracking student records across multiple schools and districts.
He received three awards from Division H of the American Educational Research Association for reports he coauthored. He is a past president of the Directors of Research and Evaluation, a nonprofit network of school district researchers and evaluators from the United States and Canada.
In 2008, as part of the LEP Framework Development Team, McCrary received WestEd's Paul D. Hood Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Field. Designed to support the development, evaluation, and revision of standards and assessments supporting English language acquisition, the LEP (Limited English Proficient) Framework fills a gap long recognized by practitioners and researchers. It is the centerpiece of the U.S. Department of Education's support to all 50 states through the LEP Partnership, and is guiding technical assistance and capacity-building efforts across the nation. This far-reaching document represents best practices supported by research, and improves the likelihood that English language learners across the nation will receive the support they need to learn English and meet challenging content expectations.
McCrary received a doctorate in public administration from the University of Georgia, where he also earned separate master's degrees in public administration and sociology.