Research News

New scholarship program to boost research in testing, student assessment

A new endowed scholarship program at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College aims to produce the next generation of leaders in the closely watched field of educational testing and student assessment.

The new Dunn Family Scholars Program was named for Lloyd Dunn, a Peabody faculty member who, along with his wife Leota, was a pioneer in educational assessment. The Dunn Family Foundation donated $1.2 million to create the new program.

“This new program honors the distinguished legacy of Lloyd and Leota Dunn at Peabody,” Stephen Elliott, Dunn Family Professor of Educational and Psychological Assessment and manager of the new program, said. “We are deeply grateful to the Dunn Family Foundation for their generous gift, which will be used to prepare the next cadre of education leaders and generate research about how students learn, and how best to assess this learning to inform educators’ and parents’ actions.”

The program will be led by Peabody faculty and the Interdisciplinary Program in Educational Psychology and will include supervised experiences with test developers and assessment companies. It will fund three students a year for four years, beginning in Fall 2008.

Lloyd Dunn, who died in 2006, was chair of the Department of Special Education at Peabody College from 1953 to 1967 and helped found a national network of centers for the study and treatment of developmental disabilities. Dunn’s publications with his wife Leota, who died in 2001, on assessment, methods and materials used for understanding individuals with disabilities are still used extensively throughout the English-speaking world.

Students interested in learning more about the new scholarships should contact Elliott at For more information about Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, visit For more Vanderbilt news, visit

Media Contact: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS