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Mark Duffy

Senior Research Associate

Pronouns: He/Him


  • M.S. in Public Policy: Rutgers University
  • B.A. in American Studies: University of Mary Washington
Headshot of Mark Duffy

About Mark Duffy

Mark Duffy has worked in the field of education policy and practice research for nearly two decades, focusing on both K-12 and postsecondary reform in areas such as standards-based assessment and accountability systems and developmental education.

In K-12 education, Mark has led RFA’s work on community schools and personalized education and contributed to research on the implementation of curricular tools, as well as evaluations of after-school programs in Philadelphia and the Say Yes to Education initiative in Cleveland. In postsecondary education, Mark led RFA’s work on diagnostic assessment and multiple measures placement, contributed to RFA’s research on outcomes-based funding, and is working with Jobs for the Future on their Student Success Center initiative across 15 states. Mark has also contributed to briefs on multiple education policy issues, including trauma-informed care in education, teacher evaluation and performance pay, charter school authorization, high school exit exams, and school vouchers.

Previously, Mark consulted for the Rodel Foundation of Delaware and contributed to the state’s successful round one application for Race to the Top funding. Prior to that, he was a consultant and full-time researcher with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) at the University of Pennsylvania and Teachers College, Columbia University. Along with work on standards-based reform across the states, his research at CPRE included work on school funding, teacher preparation, and the national assessment of Title I.

Mark has been published in a number of articles and reports and has co-authored multiple book chapters. He received his Master of Science degree in Public Policy at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.

  • My favorite cuisine is...


  • I can't stop talking about...

    My two children and my home state of New Jersey.

Key Projects by Mark Duffy

Out-of-School Time Coordination: Infrastructure for Supporting Healthy OST Ecosystems

Read More Out-of-School Time

Out-of-School Time (OST) Coordination: Infrastructure for Supporting Healthy OST Ecosystems

Read More Out-of-School Time

KnowledgeWorks Personalized, Competency-Based Learning Project

Read More K-12

The Implementation, Impact, and Cost-Effectiveness of Developmental Education Curricular Reform in California Community Colleges

Read More Postsecondary & Workforce

Evaluation of New Profit Capacity Building Model

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Evaluation Planning and Technical Assistance for the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Learning’s Preschool Development Grant

Read More Early Childhood Education

Evaluation of Jobs for the Future’s Student Success Center Initiative

Read More Postsecondary & Workforce

Say Yes to Education: RFA’s Five-Year Evaluation of the Cleveland Chapter

Read More K-12

An Evaluation of the Lumina Foundation’s Focus Areas in Postsecondary Education

Read More Postsecondary & Workforce

Evaluating Philadelphia’s Community Schools Initiative

Read More K-12

Evaluating the Reimagine Learning Initiative for New Profit, Inc.

Read More K-12

Using Common Assignments to Strengthen Teaching and Learning

Read More K-12

21st Century Grants: Tracking the Implementation and Success of Academically-Oriented After-School Programs

Read More Out-of-School Time

The Pennsylvania Clearinghouse for Education Research (PACER): Translating Research and Analysis for Education Policymakers

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Amplifying Success Through Intermediaries: An Evaluation of the Role of New Profit, Inc. in Supporting National College Access and Success Organizations

Read More Postsecondary & Workforce
See all author projects

Recent Publications by Mark Duffy


State Funding to Support Out-of-School Time Programming in Pennsylvania

Out-of-school-time (OST) refers to programs that offer students activities after school and/or during the summer. Despite evidence of significant benefits and a clear demand from families, Pennsylvania has no dedicated state funding to provide OST…


The Philadelphia Community Schools Initiative: Year 1 Evaluation

In this report, Research for Action presents findings and associated recommendations from the first-year evaluation of Philadelphia’s Community Schools initiative. RFA assessed the initiative during the 2017-2018 school year at two levels. First, we examined…


Philadelphia Community Schools Progress Report

Philadelphia’s Community Schools initiative was launched in 2016. The effort pairs a full-time coordinator with each school and its community to pinpoint needed services and coordinate their delivery via city agencies and non-profits. Research shows…


College Affordability in PA: How Did We Get Here, and What Can Be Done?

A postsecondary credential is quickly becoming the only reliable gateway to the middle class. A college certificate or degree is associated with higher household income and stability, better health, and a stronger, more competitive economy.…


Community Schools in Practice: Research on Implementation and Impact

Community schools are receiving increased attention in Pennsylvania and across the country as policymakers and practitioners strive to address the effects of poverty on academic performance, and provide more comprehensive supports for traditionally-underserved populations. While…


Creating a Comprehensive Picture of School Performance

For more than two decades, states have been required to report publicly on the academic performance of schools and districts. These school rating systems have received increased public attention amid growing concerns about the prevalence and…


Brief Four: Conditions for Scale and Sustainability

The transition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represents an unprecedented opportunity to transform educational practice. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has invested in the development and dissemination of high quality instructional and…


From Policy to Practice: Tracing the Development and Implementation of Placement and Diagnostic Assessment across States, Systems, and Community Colleges — Phase 2 Report

National initiatives to raise K-12 standards and align them to postsecondary entrance requirements have prompted states and/or state postsecondary systems to enact policies to improve alignment among postsecondary readiness standards, postsecondary placement and diagnostic exams,…


From Policy to Practice: Tracing the Development and Implementation of Placement and Diagnostic Assessment across States, Systems, and Community Colleges — Phase I Report

Nationwide, postsecondary policymakers and administrators are responding to emerging research on whether placement exams are reliable gauges of students’ readiness for credit-bearing coursework. Specifically, the widespread use of placement tests may belie their effectiveness in…


From Policy to Practice: Tracing the Development and Implementation of Placement and Diagnostic Assessments across States, Systems, and Community Colleges — Phase 1 and Phase 2 Summary

Given the barrier that developmental education can present in students’ timely progress to degree completion and the variation in its effectiveness, Research for Action (RFA) examined assessment and placement reform efforts across five leading states—California,…


Local School Governance in Philadelphia

School district governance in Philadelphia has long been a subject of debate. In this PACER brief, RFA examined the history of Philadelphia school governance; surveyed the governance structures in a sample of other large, urban…
See all author publications

Recent Posts by Mark Duffy


A Study of Out-of-School Time (OST) Coordination: Infrastructure for Supporting Healthy OST Ecosystems

Across the country, out-of-school time programs (OST) provide safe and caring spaces that support children’s learning and holistic development when they are not in school. In some cities, system-level structures exist to coordinate, connect, and support the organizations that provide these OST opportunities. These coordinating structures can provide a variety of services, including system-level visioning … Continued