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Vanessa Barrat

As a Senior Research Associate with WestEd’s Regional Educational Laboratory West (REL West), Vanessa Barrat performs research to improve the practice and policy of education with a focus on at-risk student populations such as students dropping out of high school, students with disabilities, students in foster care, and English learners.

Barrat’s research in education policy is included in WestEd reports disseminated nationwide to education stakeholders.

Her most recent report, School Mobility, Dropout, and Graduation Rates Across Student Disability Categories in Utah, presents mobility, dropout, and graduation rates for students with disabilities as a group and by each of the disability categories. The report highlights the heterogeneity of education outcomes among students with disabilities.

In 2013 Barrat co-authored The Invisible Achievement Gap: Education Outcomes of Students in Foster Care in California’s Public Schools. This first-of-its-kind analysis linked data from California’s education and child welfare systems to create a statewide education snapshot of students in foster care. The report revealed a previously invisible achievement gap between children in foster care and other at-risk students and served as a catalyst for change.

The Invisible Achievement Gap has established a baseline of education indicators for California’s students in foster care from which the state expects to see growth, and helped establish a process for data-sharing between the state education and child welfare agencies.

Prior to joining WestEd, Barrat worked as a Research Analyst for Acumen, LLC and SRI International.

Barrat received a MS in econometrics from Pantheon-Sorbonne University—Paris 1, and a pre-doctoral degree in economic analysis and policy from l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociale in Paris.