About Us

STatistics for Evidence-Based Policy and Practice


The STEPP Center was founded in 2019 to facilitate collaboration between statisticians, researchers, policymakers and practitioners using evidence to guide decisions, with a focus on education and the applied social sciences.   The center is based at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University and evolved from the IPR’s Q-Center. This expansion was made possible by the 2018 Yidan Prize for Education Research awarded to Larry Hedges.

Our Mission

We develop and assess methods for generating, synthesizing, and translating evidence to improve policy and practice.

A Bigger Vision

We believe in a scientific approach to transform the social world and a practice-driven approach to advance science. Our goal is to improve lives through methodological innovation in research.

Operating Principles

Statistical methods propel the quality of results provided in evaluations, as well as the questions posed and the relevance of science to practice. Our center seeks to serve the practitioner and policymaker communities through the development and promotion of state of the art methods for researchers:

Generating strong evidence regarding innovations and practices through randomized trials and other strong research designs,

Synthesizing and interpreting the results of multiple studies, and

Translating findings into meaningful and useful mechanisms to inform the evolution of policy and practice




Elizabeth Tipton is an Associate Professor of Statistics and Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. She is an Associate Editor at the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics and is on the Editorial Boards of Psychological Bulletin, Research Synthesis Methods, and Observational Studies. Her work has been funded by the Institute for Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation and the Raikes Foundation. While a member of the faculty at Teachers College, Columbia University, Elizabeth received Early Career Awards from the American Education Research Association, the Society for Research Synthesis Methods, and the American Psychological Association. She received a Ph.D. in Statistics from Northwestern in 2011.



Larry V. Hedges is Board of Trustees Professor of Statistics at Northwestern University. He is Chair of the Department of Statistics, with appointments as a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research, the School of Education & Social Policy the Department of Psychology, and the Weinberg School of Medicine. Larry is an elected member of the National Academy of Education, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the American Statistical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association. He co-founded the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness and was honored by the establishment of the annual Hedges Lecture in 2016. Larry received the Yidan Prize for Education Research in 2018. Prior to Northwestern, he was the Stella M. Rowley Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. He received a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1980.


Research Associate

Chris Klager is a Research Associate in the STEPP Center where he directs research projects. He is interested in the translation and communication of evidence about educational programs for policymakers and practitioners. He received a Ph.D. in Education Policy from Michigan State University in 2020.



Founded in 2016 by Dr. Charles CHEN Yidan, the mission of the Yidan Prize is to create a better world through education. The Prize serves to provide a platform to engage the global community in conversation on educational change. It consists of two awards: the Yidan Prize for Education Research and the Yidan Prize for Education Development. Each Yidan Prize Laureate receives a gold medal and a total sum of HK$30 million ($3.9 million USD). One-half of this amount is in the form of a cash prize to the Laureate, with an equivalent amount constituting a project fund.