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Jason Grissom

Associate Professor of Public Policy and Education

An expert in K-12 leadership and policy and the impacts of school and district leaders on teacher and student outcomes.


Using large data sets, Jason Grissom's research draws on the perspectives of political science, public administration and economics to understand the governance of K-12 education, including both its leadership/management and political dimensions. He is particularly interested in identifying the impacts of school and district leaders on teacher and student outcomes and has conducted research on principal effectiveness, human capital decision-making in schools, school board governance, and turnover among teachers, principals and superintendents.

Media Appearances

  • We Pay Superintendents Big Bucks and Expect Them to Succeed. But We Hardly Know Them

    What could we learn if we did have year-to-year—sometimes called longitudinal—data on the same sample of superintendents? We have some clues on this, thanks to work by Jason Grissom, a professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University, and his research colleagues who have looked at state-level data in Missouri and California.

    June 11th, 2021

  • New Study Finds Gifted Programs Favor Wealth Over Ability

    A new study confirms that lower-income elementary students are far less likely than their wealthier counterparts to be placed in gifted programs. That’s even when those students go to the same school and display the same levels of academic achievement. Vanderbilt University's Jason Grissom co-authored the study. He says, while people often talk about a lack of access to gifted programs for low-income students, his research found something different.

    October 10th, 2019

  • Unequal access to gifted-and-talented education is a national disgrace

    Mayor de Blasio’s School Diversity Advisory Group has proposed phasing out New York City’s elementary gifted programs. The group’s recommendation takes aim at school segregation, which it says is encouraged by unequal access to gifted programs for students from different backgrounds.

    October 9th, 2019

  • Money over merit? New study says gifted programs favor students from wealthier families

    “This isn’t just a neighborhood problem,” said Jason Grissom, one of the authors and an associate professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development. “By comparing students within schools, we looked at a high-income kid who’s sitting in the same classroom as a kid with similar characteristics but just from a lower income family, and the system was less likely to identify that lower income kid for gifted services.”

    October 4th, 2019

  • Nashville schools opened with nearly 100 teacher vacancies this year; here's why it's a chronic problem

    Teacher shortages tend to be localized and are more pronounced in urban areas, said Jason Grissom, a Vanderbilt professor.

    August 25th, 2019

  • Study finds that new principals can boost student achievement — with a little help

    Jason Grissom, an expert in principal effectiveness at Vanderbilt University, said that’s what schools and districts would want to know from a study like this. “These are big investments,” said Grissom, who did not have an advance copy of the report. “You need the evidence to convince districts it’s worth making.”

    April 8th, 2019

  • Why Struggling Schools End Up With Less Effective Principals

    "We see this pattern consistently for teachers virtually everywhere that anyone has looked at it," said Jason Grissom [...]

    February 1st, 2019

  • Why principals lie to ineffective teachers: Honesty takes too long

    Researchers Jason Grissom of Vanderbilt University and Susanna Loeb of Stanford University published a study in the journal Education Finance and Policy similar to the study by Kraft and Gilmour in Educational Researcher. Both reports compared the formal district evaluations principals submitted with how those principals assessed the same teachers in confidential surveys. The formal and confidential assessments were as different as your view of your company’s latest mission statement might be when talking to your boss or your spouse.

    August 13th, 2017

  • Why Talented Black and Hispanic Students Can Go Undiscovered

    The numbers are startling. Black third graders are half as likely as whites to be included in programs for the gifted, and the deficit is nearly as large for Hispanics, according to work by two Vanderbilt researchers, Jason Grissom and Christopher Redding.

    April 8th, 2016


Ph.D., Stanford University

M.A., Stanford University

B.A., North Carolina State University


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