UNH Professors Receive Spencer Grant for Education Research

Education professors Emilie Reagan and Thomas Schram have been awarded a research grant from the Spencer Foundation to support research on how and if teacher education performance assessments effectively prepare teachers for the classroom and their first year of teaching. The $50,000 grant project will inform the work that Reagan, Schram, and faculty across five New Hampshire higher education institutions have been conducting to develop an effective state-wide assessment tool for teacher candidates.

“Across the nation, calls for performance assessments in teacher preparation are widespread,” write Reagan and Schram in their grant proposal. “Many states now require performance assessments as part of teacher licensure and program approval processes. However, there is a lack of knowledge surrounding the impact of performance assessments on teacher learning and practice beyond teacher preparation—that is, how performance assessments support teacher learning over time.”

Reagan and Schram intend to close those gaps in knowledge. They also hope their findings will inform the ways teacher preparation performance assessments are implemented throughout the United States—with an eye to enhancing teacher learning and teaching effectiveness from preparation to practice.

“Receiving the highly competitive Spencer grant is something few are able to do and signals leadership in education on a national scale,” says Leslie Couse, chair and associate professor of education at UNH.

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