Core faculty

Matthew Ronfeldt

Associate Professor and Faculty Associate

Matt Ronfeldt seeks to understand how to improve teaching quality, particularly in schools and districts that serve marginalized students. His research sits at the intersection of educational practice and policy and focuses on teacher preparation, teacher retention, teacher induction, and the assessment of teachers and preparation programs. Ronfeldt is primarily interested in whether and how pre-service teacher education and school/district factors, especially working conditions, are related to the employment, instructional quality, and retention of teachers. His current work mostly employs large-scale, quantitative methodologies, though he engages in qualitative and mixed-methods research as well.

Ronfeldt is currently principal investigator or co-principal investigator on a number of projects. In collaboration with Kavita Kapadia Matsko, and with the support of both the Spencer Foundation and Joyce Foundation, Ronfeldt is studying what characterizes the landscape of pre-service teacher preparation, and especially student teaching, across Chicago and which features of preparation predict the career plans, employment, and instructional effectiveness of recent graduates. In collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Education, and with support from the Institute of Education Sciences, Ronfeldt is helping with efforts to build, use, and learn from a statewide longitudinal data system in order to improve teacher preparation statewide. As part of this collaboration, he is analyzing historical data on teacher preparation to identify promising practices and developing and studying efforts to promote program improvement. Finally, in collaboration with Dan Goldhaber (AIR) and with support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ronfeldt is helping to design two initiatives – one for improving clinical placements and another for improving the feedback that student teachers/residents receive during clinical experiences. In partnership with many teacher education programs across three states, Ronfeldt and colleagues are using experimental methods to test whether these initiatives improve workforce outcomes in subsequent years.

Ronfeldt earned his PhD from Stanford University, where he concentrated on teacher education. After receiving his doctoral degree, he completed two more years at Stanford as an IES postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Research on Educational Policy and Practice (now CEPA), focusing on large-scale quantitative research. Ronfeldt previously taught middle school mathematics and science for seven years.

Educational background

  • Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teacher Education, Stanford University, 2008 Dissertation: Crafting Core Provisional Selves in Professional Education. Submitted August, 2008. Committee: Pamela Grossman (chair), Na`ilah Nasir, Eamonn Callan, Hilda Borko.
  • Masters in Education, Mills College, 2000 (Thesis Advisor: Anna Richert) Teaching Credential in Secondary Math (Physics Supplemental), 1996
  • B.A. in Physics Amherst College, (Magna Cum Laude), 1994

Professional affiliations

  • American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)
  • The Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP)
  • The Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)
  • National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)

Current research

  • Educational Practice and Policy focusing on teacher preparation, teacher retention, teacher induction, and the assessment of teachers and preparation programs.

Recent publications

  • Khasnabis, D., Goldin, S., & Ronfeldt, M. (in preparation). Using simulated parent-teacher conferences to assess interns’ abilities to partner with families
  • Ronfeldt, M. & McQueen, K. (in preparation). Does new teacher induction really improve retention?