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School of Education


  • lauramd@udel.edu
  • Office: 106 Allison Hall
  • Phone: 302-831-2394
  • Fax: 302-831-4110

Laura Desimone

Dr. Desimone joined the UD faculty in the summer of 2018 as Associate Dean for Research for 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. Before that, she was on the faculty 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).

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 post-doctoral 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 (C-SAIL.org), 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 works with the School District of Philadelphia through Shared Solutions, a research-to-practice partnership between the School District of Philadelphia and Penn GSE. Research with the school district has included co-developing surveys for administration district-wide and a mixed method study of the district’s school improvement efforts. Current work involves studying school transformation efforts and a leadership initiative.