Mike Puma has over 35 years of experience in program evaluation having conducted major national studies in K-12 and preschool education, nutrition assistance, income security, and employment and training. Prior to starting Chesapeake Research Associates, he served as a Senior Scholar at The Urban Institute in Washington D.C. and was the Managing Vice President for Education, Child Development, and Welfare at Abt Associates Inc., one of the company’s largest business components with a staff of over 80 professionals. He also started Abt’s international education practice with offices in Egypt and South Africa.
His current research activities include serving as the Principal Investigator for the 10-year National Head Start Impact Study (a national randomized experiment involving longitudinal study of about 4,000 preschool children) and Senior Researcher on several studies for the Institute for Educational Sciences including the Analytical and Technical Support contract, the experimental evaluation of the DC school voucher program, the What Works Clearinghouse, the study of highly selective alternative teacher certification programs, and the evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund. Other recent research includes randomized trials of a new writing instruction program for elementary school children and of teacher preparation programs, studies of the reform of education for children with disabilities, programs to improve educational outcomes for economically disadvantaged children, trends in educational technology, educational standards and accountability, teacher professional development, comprehensive school reform, out-of-school time programs, and health education.
While at one of his previous employers, Abt Associates, Mr. Puma served as Director of Analysis for Prospects: The National Evaluation of Title 1, the largest longitudinal study of American education that followed the educational progress of over 30,000 public school children for up to four years and formed the basis for reform of federal Title 1 legislation. In addition, Mr. Puma served as an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University School of Public Policy, an expert witness in a landmark school desegregation case, worked on a major school reform initiative in Qatar, developed an international training seminar on the decentralization of school governance, and served as a technical advisor to projects dealing with the reform of girls' education in Egypt, and youth development in South Africa.
He has also conducted numerous research and evaluation studies of child nutrition programs, nutrition and health programs for low-income pregnant women (including the first randomized experiment to examine the impact of prenatal and infant nutrition and health assistance on the long-term physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development of children), conducted one of the largest multi-site experimental studies, the National Evaluation of the Food Stamp Employment and Training Program, and conducted a complex analysis of payment errors in the Food Stamp Program published in the Journal of the American Statistical Association.