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Betsy McCarthy

As a Senior Researcher in WestEd’s Technology and Learning team, Betsy McCarthy directs large research and evaluation projects that provide researchers, product developers, policymakers, and practitioners with information to help them develop, measure, and improve education products and practices.

McCarthy is a research lead on a number of large projects, including research on the Ready to Learn Hero Elementary initiative which develops television and digital science learning resources for children ages 5–8. In her work with the Ready to Learn program over eight years, she has overseen research and evaluation focused on hundreds of products and resources for children, their parents, and the educators who support them. These products and resources are available for free via public television and at PBS KIDS (

As principal investigator for a National Science Foundation DRK–12 Development grant in Measurement: Development of the Electronic Test of Early Numeracy (e-TEN), McCarthy and her team, with colleagues from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, are developing a rigorous, adaptive mathematics assessment for children ages 3–8 that is administered digitally via a fun and engaging app.

She directs research and evaluation for Galt (CA) Joint Union Elementary School District’s Growing Strong Learners effort to promote equity and parent involvement in PreK–K.

McCarthy earned a BA in human biology from Stanford University, a master’s degree in developmental psychology from San Francisco State University, and a PhD in psychological studies in education from Stanford University, where she was twice a Spencer Foundation Fellow.