Abigail Cohen

Associate Director, Policy and Research

No matter which piece of the education reform pie you think about, effective data use is the best way to drive change and improve outcomes for all children.


Abby oversees the strategic development and execution of DQC’s research work including DQC’s annual review of state report cards, Show Me the Data. Abby also works on issues related to teacher pipelines, teacher preparation, and out-of-school time learning.

Before joining DQC in 2015, Abby was the Director of Program Partners at Higher Achievement, a Washington, DC–based nonprofit that provides year-round academic support to middle school students. In this role, Abby managed all of the extracurricular programming provided to the more than 500 students in the program. Abby holds a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Richmond as well as an M.P.P from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

What is your favorite DQC resource? Show Me the Data.

Tell us a data use story that you love. A middle school in North Carolina began using data to identify students for Algebra, instead of relying exclusively on teacher recommendations. As a result of this shift, nearly half of the school’s 8th graders qualified for Algebra and that year 97 percent of those students passed the state’s Algebra I exam. This new approach challenged assumptions about which students could succeed in advanced courses and the success with 8th grade students prompted the school to think about using the same process to identify 7th graders for Algebra so they could take geometry in 8th This small shift in identification meant a huge shift in which students had the opportunity to take advanced, college-preparatory coursework.

If you could have dinner with three people, who would they be? Tom Haverford, Donna Meagle, and Craig Middlebrooks.