Joseph Waddington


R. Joseph Waddington is the director of Program Evaluation and Research and concurrent associate professor of the practice at the Institute for Educational Initiatives. Prior to returning to Notre Dame, he was an associate professor at the University of Kentucky College of Education and Martin School of Public Policy and Administration. He also previously served as a postdoc and research associate at the University of Notre Dame Institute for Educational Initiatives.

Dr. Waddington’s primary line of research focuses on the variation in impacts of K-12 school choice programs and policies, including charter schools and private school voucher programs, using quasi-experimental research methods. His collaborative research has been funded by the Institute for Education Sciences (U.S. Department of Education), the Smith-Richardson Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation. As director, he leads a team of IEI faculty and staff who collaborate on rigorous program evaluation and research activities with units across the Institute, including the Alliance for Catholic Education Teaching Fellows, Remick Leadership Program, English as a New Language Program, Notre Dame ACE Academies, and the Notre Dame Center for STEM Education, among others. He is also a faculty affiliate in the Program for Interdisciplinary Educational Research.

Dr. Waddington earned a Ph.D. in Educational Studies and an M.A. in statistics from the University of Michigan as well as a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Notre Dame.

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  • Ph.D. in Educational Studies, University of Michigan
  • M.A. in Statistics, University of Michigan
  • B.S. in Chemistry, University of Notre Dame
  • *Waddington, R. J., Zimmer, R., & Berends, M. (in press). Cream skimming and push out of voucher students in Indiana. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
  • Shepley, C. & Waddington, R. J. (in press). Examining the impact of NCLB alternate assessment policies on the post-school outcomes of individuals with significant cognitive disabilities. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
  • *Ferrare, J. J., Waddington, R. J., Fitzpatrick, B., & Berends, M. (in press). Insufficient accountability? Heterogeneous effects of charter schools across authorizing agencies. American Educational Research Journal.
  • Robershaw, K., Bradley, K. D., & Waddington, R. J. (2022). Parents’ awareness and perspectives of school choice scale: Psychometric evidence using Rasch modeling. Journal of School Choice, 16(2), 275-305.
  • *Fitzpatrick, B., Berends, M., Ferrare, J. J., & Waddington, R. J. (2020). Virtual illusion: Comparing student achievement and teacher characteristics in online and brick-and-mortar charter schools. Educational Researcher, 49(3), 161-175.
  • *Austin, M., Waddington, R. J. & Berends, M. (2019). Voucher pathways and student achievement in Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 5(3), 20-40.
  • *Waddington, R. J. & Berends, M. (2018). Impact of the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program: Achievement effects for students in upper elementary and middle school. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 37(4), 783-808.
  • *Berends, M. & Waddington, R. J. (2018). School choice in Indianapolis: Effects of charter, magnet, private, and traditional public schools. Education Finance and Policy, 13(2), 227-255.

*Author order determined randomly; each author contributed equally.

Joseph Waddington