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Curriculum VitaeView CV
CEHD Director of Research
Dr. Laura Desimone is Professor and Director of Research in the College of Education and Human Development, with a faculty appointment in the School of Education and an affiliation with the Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics faculty group. She holds a secondary appointment in the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration. Before that, she was a professor at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania from 2007 until 2018, with a secondary appointment at the School of Social Policy and Practice. She was an assistant professor at Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University from 2001-2007, and before that was a senior research scientist at the American Institutes for Research, and a post-doctoral research associate at Yale University’s Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy. She was also a researcher at RAND in Washington, D.C., and at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Research Interests and Current Projects
Dr. Desimone studies how state, district, and school-level policy can better promote changes in teaching that lead to improved student achievement and to closing the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. She uses multiple methods, including surveys, interviews, classroom observations, and randomized control trials, to study all levels of the policy system (national, state, district, school, and classroom). Much of her work has focused on school reform initiatives, standards-based reform, and teacher quality initiatives (e.g., teachers’ professional development, induction, and mentoring). She has studied teacher professional development, induction, mentoring, comprehensive school reform, and mathematics and science curricular and professional learning interventions. She was PI on Shared Solutions, an IES-funded research-practice partnership with the School District of Philadelphia and Penn GSE. Research with the school district included co-developing surveys for administration district-wide and a mixed method study of the district’s school improvement efforts.
Dr. Desimone’s work has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including American Education Research Journal, Educational Researcher, and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. Her work has been supported by grants from the Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation. Dr. Desimone was a National Academy of Education postdoctoral fellow in 2002–2003.
Dr. Desimone has served in technical advisory roles to several national organizations, including the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, the Comprehensive School Reform Clearinghouse, and the National Study of No Child Left Behind. She has been on the editorial boards of Educational Administration Quarterly, Teachers College Record, and Educational Researcher and is currently on the editorial board for the American Education Research Journal.
Current Research Projects
Dr. Desimone is co-principal investigator of the $10 million five-year Center for Standards, Assessments, Instruction, and Learning, awarded in July 2015 by the Institute for Education Sciences. The Center studies the implementation of the common core and other college and career ready standards across the nation, identifying supports and barriers to implementation, effects on student learning and college going, and testing a web-based coaching intervention to support teachers’ classroom implementation, with special attention to low-achieving students.
Desimone also is currently PI on a Bill & Melinda Gates-funded study of 12 professional learning partnerships (PLPs) across the country. The PLPs aim to increase ambitious and culturally responsive instruction in math, science and English Language Arts for districts serving primarily Black and Latinx students.
- Ph.D., Public Policy Analysis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 1996
- M.P.A., Public Administration with a concentration in Education Policy, American University, Washington, DC, 1991
- B.A., American Studies, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, 1990
- Professor and Director of Research, College of Education and Human Development, University of Delaware, 2018–present
- Associate, then Professor of Education Policy, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, 2007–2018
- Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education, Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, 2001–2007
- Senior Research Scientist, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC, 1998–2001
- Desimone, L. (PI), Hill, K., Blackman, H., Gordan, M. Wilson, J. (co-PIs), Litke, E. (Senior Researcher), May, H. and Porter, A. (Consultants). Grant to study 12 professional learning partnerships across the country as they design instruction that’s better suited to student bodies that are mostly black or Latinx. Bill and Melinda Grants Foundation, 2019–2022. ($1,500,000)
- Desimone, L. (co-PI). Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction and Learning (C-SAIL). U.S. Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences in collaboration with the American Institutes for Research, 2015–2020. ($10 million)
- Desimone, L. (PI). The School District of Philadelphia-Penn Graduate School of Education Researcher-Practitioner Partnership in Education Research. Collaboration with the School District of Philadelphia, 2014–2016. ($399,818)
Recent Professional Awards
- American Educational Research Association (AERA) Fellow, 2019
- Named as one of the 200 most influential scholars in 2015 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, 2015