Associate Professor of Education
PhD, University of Pennsylvania
K-12 Education Policy
K-12 education policy; curriculum; standards-based reform; assessment policy; alignment; survey research; quantitative methods; COVID and education
Dr. Morgan Polikoff is an Associate Professor of Education at USC Rossier. His areas of expertise include K-12 education policy; curriculum, standards, accountability, and assessment policy; survey research in education; and the impact of COVID-19 on American families.
Dr. Polikoff uses quantitative and mixed methods to study the design, implementation, and effects of curriculum, standards, assessment, and accountability policies. In 2021 he published his first book, Beyond Standards: The Fragmentation of Education Governance and the Promise of Curriculum Reform (Harvard Education Press). Recent work has investigated the adoption and use of curriculum materials to align with state standards and critiqued the design of accountability systems. Ongoing work focuses on the influence of curriculum materials on the implementation of standards in the classroom and the impact of COVID-19 on families’ educational experiences. He has been Co-Editor of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis and Associate Editor of the American Educational Research Journal and is on the editorial boards for Educational Researcher and AERA Open. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and received (as PI or co-PI) more than $15 million in grants from federal and foundation sources. For his research achievements he received the AERA Early Career Award in 2017 and the AERA Outstanding Public Communication of Education Research Award in 2020. For his work with graduate students and postdocs he also received oustanding mentoring awards from USC Rossier and USC in 2018 and 2019, respectively. He chaired the faculty at USC Rossier from 2017 to 2019.
Dr. Polikoff received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in 2010 with a focus on Education Policy and his Bachelors in Mathematics (minor in Secondary Education) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006.
Professor Polikoff's work focuses on the design, implementation, and effects of curriculum, standards, assessment, and accountability policies.
Honors and Awards:
- AERA Outstanding Public Communication of Education Research Award (2020)
- USC Mentoring Award for faculty mentoring graduate students (2019)
- USC Rossier Faculty Mentoring Award (2018)
- AERA Early Career Award (2017)
- AERA Open Outstanding Reviewer (2016, 2018, 2019, 2020)
- Association for Teacher Education Outstanding Research Award for article “Formal and informal mentoring: Complementary, compensatory, or consistent?” (2015)
- Educational Researcher Outstanding Reviewer (2015)
- Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis Outstanding Reviewer (2013, 2014)
- EDUC 658: Hierarchical Linear Modeling
- EDUC 705: Survey Design and Analysis
- EDUE 727: Research Methods II
- GESM 131g: Educational Access and Opportunity from Cradle to College
National Science Foundation, “RAPID: The Impact of COVID on American Education in 2021: Continued Evidence from the Understanding America Study,” co-Principal Investigator (Principal Investigator Anna Saavedra), 2021-2022, $198,148.
National Science Foundation, “RAPID: Exploring COVID and the Effects on U.S. Education: Evidence from a National Survey of American Households,” co-Principal Investigator (Principal Investigator Anna Saavedra), 2020-2021, $199,620.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, supplement to “COVID-19: US Data Collection for Household Response and Impact Monitoring,” Investigator (Principal Investigator Anna Saavedra), 2020, $50,000.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, “Characteristics of Coherent Instructional Systems and Their Relationship to Outcomes for Black, Latino, English Learner-designated, and Low-Income Students,” co-Principal Investigator (co-Principal Investigators Julia Kaufman, V. Darleen Opfer, Elaine Wang), 2018-2022, $2,300,000.
Ballmer Group, “AchievementNet Evaluation (subcontract from AchievementNet),” Principal Investigator (co-Principal Investigator Adam Kho), 2018-2022, $259,215.
International Baccalaureate, “Student Pathways Through Middle School, High School and Into Postsecondary Education: MYP Student Outcomes in a Large US Public School District,” co-Principal Investigator (Principal Investigator Anna Saavedra), 2018, $65,000.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, “Never Judge a Book By Its Cover, Use Student Achievement Instead,” co-Principal Investigator (Principal Investigator Jon Fullerton), 2016-2018, $762,059.
Institute of Education Sciences, R&D Center on Standards in Schools, “Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning (C-SAIL),” co-Principal Investigator (Principal Investigator Andrew C. Porter), 2015-2020, $10,000,000.
WT Grant Foundation, “Complex Equations: Algebra Instruction in the Common Core Era,” Principal Investigator (co-Principal Investigator Thurston Domina), 2014-2017, $447,503.
Smith Richardson Foundation, “Curriculum Adoptions and Effects on Student Achievement in California,” co-Principal Investigator (co-Principal Investigator Cory Koedel), 2014-2016, $159,992.
National Science Foundation, Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research, “An Online System for the Collection of Textbook Adoption Data,” Principal Investigator, 2014-2016, $299,942.
Mattel Children’s Foundation, “USC-Mattel Speedometry Phase II District Wide Study and Direct Impact Partnership," co-Principal Investigator (co-Principal Investigators Gale Sinatra & Julie Marsh), 2014-2016, $784,000.
Smith Richardson Foundation, "Making Standards-Based Reform Work: Textbook Alignment and the Common Core," Principal Investigator, 2013-2014, $124,132.
Mattel Children’s Foundation, "Innovative STEM Curriculum Using Hot Wheels," co-Principal Investigator (Principal Investigators Gale Sinatra & Julie Marsh), 2013-2014, $230,000.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development R03, “Teacher Practice and Peer Conduct: Classroom Effects on Outcomes for Special Needs Students,” co-Principal Investigator (Principal Investigator Michael Gottfried), 2012-2014, $161,100.
Polikoff, M. S., Campbell, S., Rabovsky, S., Koedel, C., Le, Q. T., Hardaway, T., & Gasparian, H. (2020). The formalized processes districts use to evaluate mathematics textbooks. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 52(4), 451-477.
Polikoff, M. S., Gasparian, H., Korn, S., Gamboa, M., Porter, A. C., Smith, T., & Garet, M. S. (2020). Flexibly using the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum to study alignment. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 39(2), 38-47.
Hutt, E., & Polikoff, M. S. (2020). Toward a framework for public accountability in education reform. Educational Researcher, 49(7), 503-511.
Aguilar, S., Polikoff, M. S., & Sinatra, G. (2019). Refutation texts: A new approach to changing public misconceptions about education policy. Educational Researcher, 48(5), 263-272.
Polikoff, M. S., Le, Q. T., Danielson, R., Sinatra, G., & Marsh, J. (2018). The impact of Speedometry on student knowledge, interest, and emotions. Journal for Research on Educational Effectiveness, 11(2), 217-239.
Koedel, C., Li, D., Polikoff, M. S., Hardaway, T. ,& Wrabel, S. L. (2017). Mathematics curriculum effects on student achievement in California. AERA Open, 3(1), 1-22.
Polikoff, M. S., Hardaway, T., Marsh, J., & Plank, D. (2016). Who is opposed to Common Core and why? Educational Researcher, 45(3), 263-266.
Polikoff, M. S. (2015). How well aligned are textbooks to the Common Core Standards in mathematics? American Educational Research Journal, 52(6), 1185-1211.
Polikoff, M. S., & Porter, A. C. (2014). Instructional alignment as a measure of teaching quality. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 36(4), 399-416.
Polikoff, M. S., McEachin, A., Wrabel, S. L., & Duque, M. (2014). The waive of the future? School accountability in the waiver era. Educational Researcher, 43(1), 45-54.
Polikoff, M. S. (September 2012). The association of state policy attributes with teachers’ instructional alignment. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 34(3), 278-294.
Polikoff, M. S. (May 2012). Instructional alignment under No Child Left Behind. American Journal of Education, 118(3), 341-368.
Polikoff, M. S. (Winter 2010). Instructional sensitivity as a psychometric property of assessments. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 29(4), 3-14.