About Us

Public education has never been more critical to advancing economic mobility and tackling our cities’ largest challenges.

But America’s current education system is failing to give students – particularly students of color and the most economically disadvantaged – the foundation they need for future success. In large part, that’s because of how we generate evidence about what works. Often, education research is done to districts and not with districts, therefore disconnected from the real-world challenges students, teachers, and school leaders face. That needs to change. Policies and programs must be designed in partnership with schools, rigorously tested in real classrooms, and built to scale in cities nationwide.

By the Numbers

Saga Education, a high-impact tutoring program, increased what 9th and 10th grade students learn by two to three times over the course of a year.
Youth Advocate Programs’ Choose to Change program increased school attendance by 6% and reduced student arrests for violent crime by 48%—and continued to have preventative effects for over 2.5 years following students’ completion of the program.
Working on Womanhood, a group-based peer mentoring program serving adolescent girls in Chicago neighborhood schools, reduced PTSD symptoms by 22% in addition to reducing anxiety and depression.
CPS schools that implemented restorative practices into their disciplinary policies experienced a 34% decrease in student arrests, reductions in violent conflict inside and outside of school, and positive changes in students’ underlying and future behavior.
Our Vision

Our first 12 years have focused on designing, pilot-testing, and scaling policies with our government and NGO partners across Chicago. In the next phase of our work, we seek to apply key lessons learned and aspire to have national and international impact.

Our Mission

The Education Lab partners with school districts to design, test, and scale programs to ensure all students have the opportunity for future success. By generating cutting-edge evidence in a real-world setting, our insights are not theoretical; they are designed to be applied in the classroom and to reach students at scale – translating into maximum impact for students nationwide.

Our Values

The Education Lab’s core values are essential to our work and drive our mission to support all students.


We work to create impact at scale for residents of America’s cities, especially for those facing the most severe implications of inequality and racism. We conduct research to meet the highest standards of quality and rigor, and we share our results broadly to generate measurable social good in communities.


We understand that it is a privilege that our partners entrust us with data. As a result, we hold ourselves accountable for clear and honest reporting of our research and analysis, even when difficult for key partners or ourselves to hear. We deeply appreciate that each data point represents an individual person, so we conduct our work with the care that they deserve.


We believe our work has the greatest impact when we incorporate diverse perspectives from outside and inside our organization. We value the voices of people with on-the-ground experience to offer critical insights to help inform solutions. We strive to create a sense of community and belonging for all staff.


We recognize that reciprocal relationships are key to a positive, productive, and team-focused work environment, in our own organization, with our partners, and with respect to the people we strive to support. So, we push ourselves to communicate more effectively, listen more intentionally, and have difficult conversations when needed.

What We Do

Topics and Methodologies

Who We Are

Our Team
Our Team

Our team is made up of experts with backgrounds in data and behavioral science, K-12 education, public school administration and management, government, and more, all with a shared passion for making our education system work for all students nationwide.


Thank you for your interest in career opportunities with the University of Chicago Education Lab! We regularly seek passionate, data-oriented, public service-minded individuals to join our team.

Data Partnerships
Data Partnerships

Thanks to our unique data-sharing agreements with public sector agencies and community partners, including Chicago Public Schools, the Education Lab can collect and analyze data to identify trends in education and, importantly, partner more effectively at designing and testing scalable solutions.

Our History

The Education Lab was founded in 2011 as a sister organization to the University of Chicago Crime Lab. For over a decade, we have partnered with school districts to design, test, and scale programs to ensure all students have the opportunity for future success. To date, our research has helped to generate more than $120 million in public investment for highly effective, evidence-based programs that support students furthest from opportunity.

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About the Education Lab

Launched the Personalized Learning Initiative (PLI), a multi-year partnership aimed at helping districts scale personalized academic supports.

Began serving as a design and data analysis partner for Back to Our Future, which aims to support disengaged youth at the highest risk of trauma exposure.

Began working with CPS on a study of the restorative practices services the district had implemented since 2013. Findings were published in 2023.

Partnered with the CPS Department of Literacy to conduct a multi-year study evaluating its structured literacy program. Results will become available in 2025.

Partnered with Saga Education in CPS and NYC DOE to conduct a study of its blended learning model. Results will be published in 2023.

Launched the Chicago Student Success Initiative, a multi-year effort to identify systemic challenges for CPS Options Schools students and co-design solutions.

Conducted a study of Working on Womanhood (WOW), a school-based program that addresses the challenges facing girls in Chicago. Findings were published in 2023.

Conducted a study of an early literacy, high-impact tutoring intervention for first graders in two CPS charter schools. Results will be published in 2023.

Partnered with CPS to provide Options Schools students with access to a high-quality education and the supports they need to succeed.

Conducted a study of CPS’ Elevate program, a whole-school personalized learning reform model implemented in over 25 low-income neighborhood schools.

Provided guidance for the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative, which delivered mentoring services to young boys in areas experiencing high rates of gun violence.

Launched a design competition to identify a citywide, scalable, and homegrown solution to address gun violence among young Chicagoans.

Began a study of Choose to Change (C2C), which connects youth impacted by violence with an intensive advocate, wraparound services, and trauma-informed therapy.

Conducted a large-scale study of Saga Education in 17 CPS high schools on the South and West Sides. The results were published in the American Economic Review.

Evaluated Saga Education’s high-impact tutoring in 12 CPS high schools on the South and West sides.

Piloted and studied a high-impact tutoring (HIT) program inspired by Saga Education’s model in CPS’ Harper High School.

The Education Lab was founded as a sister lab to the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

Explore More

Our team has co-designed, studied, and scaled programs and policies in cities nationwide to support student engagement, accelerate student learning, and ensure that the most promising policies and programs reach as many students as possible.

Personalized Learning Initiative

Personalized Learning Initiative

The Personalized Learning Initiative (PLI) is a moonshot to overcome pandemic learning loss and aims to bring high-dosage tutoring to students nationwide.

Working on Womanhood

Working on Womanhood

In 2017, the University of Chicago Education Lab partnered with the Mayor’s Office, Chicago Public Schools and Youth Guidance to understand the effects of Youth Guidance’s Working on Womanhood program as part of the Mayor’s Mentoring Initiative.

Choose to Change Research Brief
Research Brief

Choose to Change Research Brief

Feb 2020

Read this brief to learn more about the Crime Lab and Education Lab’s evaluation of the Choose to Change program.

High School Transitions

High School Transitions

At the request of Chicago Public Schools, the Education Lab conducted the High School Transitions project, which leveraged predictive analytics to identify students at risk of dropping out of high school as early as 7th grade and paired them with a summer enrichment program to help them get back on track.

Youth Advocate Programs

Youth Advocate Programs

The Crime Lab and Education Lab, in partnership with Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP), conducted a randomized controlled trial of YAP’s wraparound advocacy services to evaluate the program’s impact on youth academic outcomes and violence engagement outcomes.

Saga Technology Research Brief
Research Brief

Saga Technology Research Brief

Mar 2023

Learn more about the Saga Technology study and its early results.