Supporting education and innovation.

BetaEd helps educators generate, implement, and test ideas on a rapid cycle. BetaEd flips the standard practitioner-academic relationship, giving practitioners a central role so that research is done with them, not to them. Practitioners (in this case educators and/or administrators) go through a short webinar training called Pracademia to become pracademics who work with us to oversee trials in their own schools. We pursue vigorous timelines, with studies routinely completing in months rather than the years typical in academic research. Pracademics are celebrated for a well-designed and well-implemented test of an idea, no matter the outcome. With a little bit of help from BetaEd, provided at no cost, any educator can do pilot research.  



Who We Are:

BetaEd helps schools learn how best to meet the education goals of their students. Our goal is to unleash the talent within your schools by gathering the good ideas of your teachers, your administrators, your students, and their parents, and testing these ideas.  Our team includes psychologists, economists, policy experts, clinical researchers, statisticians, and other researchers with decades of experience planning and conducting pilot tests and collaborating with stakeholders in the field. With this approach, evaluations are fast and the new business-as-usual.  Access to information of this sort will make it harder for ineffective programs to persist, and easier for promising practices to expand.  Because we are supported by philanthropy, our services are provided at no cost to our school partners.



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Examples of BetaEd trials:

Increasing Parent Involvement with Email Notifications

Increasing Parent Involvement with Email Notifications

Picture Placement

Parent Notification

Parent Notification

Providing Student Exemplars for Improved Grading Accuracy

Aerobic Exercise for Raising Test Scores



How it works:

We believe with a little help, anyone can be a researcher. Here’s how it works:

  1. You have an idea.  There is a practice or program you want to test.

  2. We vet it with you and your school leadership.

  3. We work with the identified pracademic.

  4. We help you develop a pilot test. Each pilot is assigned a PhD peer, a statistician, a case manager and a writer.  

  5. Off you go!

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How we are different:

By providing research assistance, at no cost, we put the power of conducting pilot-level research into the hands of educators. We want to give you a voice in shaping policy and practice.  We also know that there is no idea that works for everyone, so we want to hear what ideas you think would work best for your students.  

We use home-grown research to help you determine what works best for your classrooms.  We are fast, we are free, and we focus on research that matters to you.

BetaEd promotes practitioner-led research that tests locally generated advances in education.

One pilot at a time, we are changing the way knowledge is created in schools.


Our Team

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ANGELA Hawken, PH.D.


Angela Hawken, Ph.D., is a Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management and director of the Litmus program. As founder and director of BetaGov and BetaEd, she works closely with practitioners, educators, and families, to identify areas for policy and practice improvement.

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David Farabee, Ph.D.


David Farabee, Ph.D., co-directs BetaGov and BetaEd. He is also professor-in-residence in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA and a principal investigator at the Integrated Substance Abuse Programs. Dr. Farabee's expertise ranges from conducting  randomized controlled trials to data analysis and publication.

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Ariana Anderson, Ph.D.


Ariana Anderson, Ph.D., is a statistician and provides assistance with data analyses, including identifying patterns of behavior and associated interventions. An assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA, Dr. Anderson's research focus is creating algorithms to improve screening and treatment for mental-health disorders.


Sara Arango Franco, M.S.

Data Scientist

Sara works as a Data Scientist for BetaGov and BetaEd. She provides assistance with data management, processing and analysis. She holds a masters in Urban Informatics from NYU's Center for Urban Science and Progress, and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Engineering. 

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Maureen Hillhouse, Ph.D.

Associate Director

Maureen Hillhouse, Ph.D., is associate director of BetaGov. Her expertise is in the development and implementation of clinical trials. Dr. Hillhouse also provides expertise on regulatory issues, data collection, instrument development, and statistical analyses.

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Jonathan Kulick, Ph.D.

Senior Project Director

Jonathan Kulick, Ph.D., manages a portfolio of research and technical-assistance projects. He provides assistance with project management to BetaGov and BetaEd

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Dena McAllister

Associate Research Scholar

Dena McAllister, A.B.D., assists in providing randomized controlled trial support between BetaEd and partner schools and partner parents. Her expertise is in the field of education with an emphasis on literacy remedial programs and on students with disabilities, particularly students with autism.


Ari Melenciano

Marketing and Design

Ari Melenciano works with the BetaGov and BetaEd teams on creative branding and strategic design. Ari is currently a Master's candidate at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.


Jonathan Stewart

Chief of Staff

Jonathan Stewart is the chief of staff of Litmus, which includes BetaEd. In this role, Jon is responsible for Litmus strategy and developing new initiatives. He holds an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business with concentrations in Finance, Economics and Social Innovation and Impact.



Research Scholar / Litmus

Allison Weinger is a Research Scholar at BetaEd.  Allison previously worked as the Assistant Director of the Marron Institute and in the Office of the Provost and the Entrepreneurial Institute at NYU.



Submit Your Idea

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