Laura S. Hamilton

Photo of Laura Hamilton
Associate Director, RAND Education; Senior Behavioral Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Pittsburgh Office


Ph.D. in educational psychology, M.S. in statistics, Stanford University; M.S. in psychology in education, University of Pennsylvania; B.S. in music education, Duquesne University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Laura Hamilton is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and associate director of RAND Education. She is also a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an adjunct faculty member in the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Sciences and Policy program. Her research addresses educational assessment, accountability, the measurement and evaluation of instruction and school leadership, the use of data for instructional decision making, and evaluation of technology-based curriculum reforms. She has led several large-multi-site studies and has expertise in the collection and analysis of interview, focus group, survey, and student outcome data. Recent projects include an investigation of how districts and charter management organizations are implementing new teacher and principal evaluation and compensation reforms and an evaluation of personalized-learning initiatives. Hamilton serves on several state and national panels on topics related to assessment, accountability, educator evaluation, and data use. She recently served as a member of the committee that revised the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing and as chair of a What Works Clearinghouse panel on data-driven decision making. She is also an editor of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. She holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology and an M.S. in statistics from Stanford University.

Recent Projects

  • Study of responses to standards-based accountability
  • Teacher and principal evaluation
  • Measurement of instruction and school leadership practices
  • Design of accountability systems
  • Evaluation of principal leadership development program

Selected Publications

Hamilton, L.S., Schwartz, H., Stecher, B.S., & Steele, J., "Improving accountability through expanded measures of performance," Journal of Educational Administration, 51(4):453-475, 2013

Hamilton, L.S., Engberg, J., Steiner, E.D., Nelson, C.A., Yuan, K., Improving School Leadership Through Support, Evaluation, and Incentives: The Pittsburgh Principal Incentive Program, RAND Corporation (MG-1223-PPS), 2012

Hamilton, L.S., Stecher, B.M., & Yuan, K., "Standards-based accountability in the United States: Lessons learned and future directions," Education Inquiry, 3:149-170, 2012

Hamilton, L.S. "Measuring teaching quality using student achievement tests: Lessons from educators' responses to No Child Left Behind.," in Kelly, S., Understanding Teacher Effects, Teachers College Press, 2011

Schwartz, H. Hamilton, L.S., Stecher, B.M., & Steele, J.L., Expanded Measures of School Performance, RAND Corporation (TR-968), 2010

Hamilton, L.S., Halverson, R., Jackson, S., Mandinach, E., Supovitz, J., & Wayman, J., Using student achievement data to support instructional decision making, U.S. Department of Education, 2009

Hamilton, L.S., Stecher, B.M., Russell, J.L., Marsh, J.A., & Miles, J., "Accountability and teaching practices: School-level actions and teacher responses," Research in Sociology of Education, 16:31-66, 2008

Hamilton, L.S., "Assessment as a Policy Tool," Review of Research in Education, 27(25-68), 2003

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Education Daily; Education Week; Los Angeles Times; NEA Today; Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; San Antonio Express-News; United Press International; New York Times

Commentary: Philadelphia Inquirer; Pittsburgh Business Times; Education Week; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette