I am full professor in education economics at the chair of Human Capital, Educational Technology and Inequality at the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) at the School of Business and Economics (SBE), Maastricht University.
My main research interests are in education economics, labour economics, technology in education and inequality. I have done quite some work on the effectiveness of Educational Technology (EdTech) in education, parental involvement in education, efficiency of education, and the effectiveness of education and labour market policies.
I am the project leader of several evaluation studies in education, focusing on topics such as the effectiveness of EdTech in secondary education for math and literacy, the effectiveness of summer schools, and active labour market policies, such as retraining programmes or training programmes for school leaders.
Currently, I am one of the two national coordinators of the Netherlands Cohort Study on Education (National Cohortonderzoek Onderwijs; NCO) for the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO; part of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research; NWO), and I am the PhD Director and member of the Management Team of the Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE) of SBE.
My research aims to better understand the factors that influence student performance, with a specific focus on technological innovations and inequality in education. My research has always aimed at the economics of education, but over the years my research focus has shifted from performance of educational institutions, and the role of innovations, to a focus on the individual student and the role of personalized and adaptive technology and interventions, with the focus of inequality in education as a common theme.
During my PhD I focused on how productive and efficient (secondary) schools are, in obtaining the highest possible student performance, and how characteristics of the school and students, and the choices they make regarding new innovations in education explain differences in efficiency and productivity of schools. The role of socially disadvantaged students in the efficiency and productivity of schools was part of the continuation of my research on this topic immediately after my PhD. The importance of this research line was internationally valued and recognized.
After obtaining my PhD in 2012, my research focus gradually shifted to analyses at the student level, and I developed my two main two research lines. The first research line focuses specifically on causal analyses of (quasi-)experimental interventions in schools, with a specific focus on technological interventions and the second focuses on the socio-economic background of students and how that relates to both cognitive and non-cognitive skill development.
In the first research line I aim to understand what the effect is of interventions in education, specifically if and how personalized and adaptive technological interventions influence student performance. I studied questions such as: What in-school interventions can increase student performance? How can technology in education effectively be used and what is the role of the teacher and the parents in this? And: Are all types of technology as effective for all types of students and outcomes? I have published many papers on this topic, and I am internationally recognized for my work on (adaptive) technological innovations in education.
In the second research line, I aim to understand if and how differences in socioeconomic (SES) and family background of either the student(s) and/or their parents explain differences in educational outcomes, and how we can make sure to include students and parents from all backgrounds in the same way in education. I have written several papers on this topic and am currently working on papers on, among others, how the effectiveness of parental involvement differs by SES, what the effect is of educational and neighbourhood segregation on school outcomes, and how school SES impact children’s psychosocial development.