AERA-MET Dissertation Fellowship Program
Call for Proposals

The AERA-MET Dissertation Fellowship Program deadline is Monday, May 16, 2016.

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) with funding support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is pleased to announce a dissertation fellowship program to support graduate students in education research to conduct secondary data analysis using the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Longitudinal Database. The AERA-MET Dissertation Fellowship Program provides funding and professional development and training to dissertation stage graduate students who use the MET data to address research questions and examine issues that will contribute to knowledge about teaching and learning. The program supports high-quality science undertaken by the education research field through dissertation research on topics related to teaching and instruction, the effects of the classroom and school climate, student achievement, children and youth, and other educational issues.

Download the AERA-MET Dissertation Fellowship Call for Proposals.

Access the AERA-MET Dissertation Fellowship online application to submit your proposal materials.

About the MET Database

The MET Longitudinal Database consists of extensive quantitative and qualitative information about teachers and their teaching, students’ academic achievement, video-recorded lessons, and assessments of a teachers pedagogical and content knowledge, as well as surveys of students, teachers, principals, and schools. Recognizing the importance and richness of the MET dataset, AERA supports and builds research capacity among graduate students who use these data in their dissertation projects. Through use of this dataset researchers are trained and encouraged to analyze the MET database systematically and rigorously (whether through quantitative or qualitative methodologies) to address education research questions that can ultimately enhance teaching and learning in our nations K-12 classrooms. Funded dissertation studies that use the MET database are expected to contribute to new knowledge, advance analytic methods for using such data, raise the profile of the value of these data, and enhance the research findings produced by the next generation of secondary users of this resource.

The MET data is available through the University of Michigans Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). Applicants must adhere to the ICPSR Data Use Agreement and follow guidelines and eligibility requirements to gain access to the data. All MET data are restricted and require that doctoral level students access the data through a faculty member. If awarded the AERA-MET Dissertation Fellowship, the Chair of the dissertation committee must have an approved Data Use Agreement application with ICPSR that lists the awardee among those with access to the MET data. For further information about the MET data set visit: and

About the MET Program

This is a field-initiated grants competition. The MET data allow researchers to explore many possible topics using a variety of research methods. Some examples of projects that might be conducted using MET data are listed below (but many other topics of research are equally appropriate to study).

llustrative Topics

     Research that advances the measurement of teaching using existing MET data. Such analyses might explore applying different statistical and/or psychometric models to the MET data in order to understand the dimensionality, reliability, and validity of various measures of effective teaching.

     Statistical, psychometric, and/or qualitative analyses that advance descriptive, correlational or causal research on teaching and teaching effectiveness using MET data. Analyses, whether quantitative or qualitative might be oriented to describing the nature of effective teaching as measured in the MET study (e.g., through explorations of central tendencies and distributions of measures of effective teaching) and/or to investigating relationships among variables in the MET data set (including, for example, teacher characteristics, classroom context variables, measures of classroom teaching, and measured student outcomes).

     Use of the MET data to advance the practice of teacher evaluation in schools. Such analyses might be oriented to exploring how particular measures of teaching can be used (alone or in combination) for personnel decision making in school systems (e.g., through analyses of measurement precision, error rates, or consequential validity).

     Analyses that seek to develop and/or test new measures of teaching using rigorous qualitative, quantitative or multiple research methods. Researchers with existing measures can develop and implement studies to validate these measures against MET data or other measures and scores created in the MET study.

     Use of existing MET video to conduct qualitative and/or quantitative research on the rating process. Such analyses might involve new scoring of existing MET videos and be oriented to examining the cognitive processes of those who score videos and/or the effects of different conditions of scoring on either the cognitive processes of raters and/or the resulting scores.


Eligible graduate students for the AERA-MET Dissertation Fellowship Program will be at the dissertation stage in an accredited graduate program in education research or another social or behavioral science disciplinary or interdisciplinary field, such as sociology, economics, psychology, or political science. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents enrolled in a doctoral program. Underrepresented racial and ethnic minority researchers and women are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants should be familiar with the principles and framework of the MET study and the instruments and methods used to collect the data. For further information about the MET project visit: and


Award Component 1, $20,000 Stipend. AERA will award each fellow up to a $20,000 stipend to study education, teaching, learning, or other education research topic using the MET Longitudinal Database. The fellowship funds can be used for research related expenses such as tuition, living expenses, travel to scholarly conferences, books, computer equipment, and other expenses that are directly related to conducting this research. As part of the proposal, applicants provide a budget that outlines anticipated research related expenses. AERA encourages cost sharing from universities in the form of tuition assistance, office space, university fees, and other expenses. Institutions cannot charge overhead or indirect costs to administer the fellowship funds. In addition to the funding, fellows will be paired with an Advisory Committee member who will provide mentoring, monitor fellows’ progress, and help guide their research.

ard Component 2, AERA Fall Doctoral Research Conference. Fellows will participate in a fall AERA doctoral research conference held in Washington, DC. During this 3-day conference fellows will network and interact with senior scholars and researchers who are involved in developing and implementing the MET project, other graduate students who use large-scale datasets in their research, and representatives from key federal agencies such as the National Center for Educational Statistics, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Institutes of Health. AERA will reimburse fellows for travel and lodging expenses to participate in the conference.

ard Component 3, AERA Annual Meeting Research Institute and Early Career Transition Capstone Conference. Each spring AERA holds its’ Annual Meeting which brings together over 15,000 researchers, scholars, and policy makers to present their research, share knowledge, and build research capacity through over 2,000 substantive sessions. The cohort of AERA-MET fellows will convene during the 2017 AERA Annual Meeting (San Antonio, TX) and will participate in a research intensive institute led by MET experts that focuses on the research issues, challenges, and potential pathways associated with the MET data. Fellows will also take a data analysis or appropriate methods professional development course at this Meeting. During the Annual Meeting fellows will participate in a poster session with other graduate students who received dissertation support from the AERA Grants Program and other prestigious fellowship programs.

At the end of the Annual Meeting, fellows will participate in the Early Career Transition Capstone Conference which will address issues such as building a research agenda, searching for a faculty or research position, and publishing in journals. Fellows must include travel and lodging expenses to the Annual Meeting in their budget.

n addition to the award components described above, AERA may invite fellows to participate in professional development and training activities to enhance and strengthen their use of the MET data.

Application Requirements

All applications for the AERA-MET Fellowship Program must be completed using the AERA online application portal ( by 11:59pm Pacific time on May 16, 2016. Please combine items 1-6 listed below as one PDF document (include name and institution in header) and upload to online application portal. Each application must include:

1.   Abstract of the proposed dissertation project

2.   Proposal narrative (limited to 6 single-spaced pages) that addresses the following:


      Statement of how this research advances the current state of knowledge in the field, substantively and/or methodologically

•      Theoretical or conceptual framework for the research

•      Brief review of relevant research/policy literature

•      Research questions, hypotheses to be tested

      Description of methodology including the MET instrument(s) and justification for selecting data file to address research question; any additional or supplemental data sample (e.g., groups used, exclusions to sample, and estimated sample sizes); list of variables from the MET data to be used and rationale for using them; any video segments integral to the study; and specification and clarification of variables and analytic techniques. For information about the MET instruments and data files visit: and

      Data analysis plan for qualitative study and/or statistical model or formulas, appropriately defined. Conceptual or figural model depicting the design of the study

•      Brief dissemination plan for this research including proposed conferences to present the findings and potential scholarly journals to publish the research

3.   References cited

4.   Proposed budget up to $20,000. The budget must include funds to attend the 2017 AERA Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX.

5.   Applicant's curriculum vitae (limited to 2 pages) that includes:

Research and academic employment history
Relevant graduate courses in statistics and methodology
Relevant publications and presentations
Relevant professional affiliations and/or memberships

6.   Chair of the dissertation committee must sign the Intention to Access MET Data form indicating that they have access to the MET data or that they are eligible and will apply to use the dataset from ICPSR. If awarded the AERA-MET Dissertation Fellowship, the Chair of the dissertation committee must have an approved Data Use Agreement application with ICPSR that lists the awardee among those with access to the MET data.

Please combine items 1-6 as one PDF document and upload on online application.

7.   Letters of support: (1) A substantive letter of support from applicant's faculty dissertation advisor that includes the student's current progress toward the degree and expected date
of completion, and the student's potential for success in his or her anticipated career path and (2) a second letter of support from a faculty member or a scholar/ scientist with an education research background who can discuss the student’s graduate work and potential as an education researcher. Note that letters may be sent electronically ( or in hard copy to:


AERA, 1430 K St. NW

Suite 1200

Washington, DC 20005.

All letters must be received by the application deadline.


To help familiarize candidates with the MET study and the MET data, applicants are encouraged to consult the important MET web links for information:
An Introduction to the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Longitudinal Database, This course provides an overview of the MET Project, including data collection procedures and types of data collected. Instructors discuss the opportunities for research with MET data and describe procedures for obtaining access to the MET Longitudinal Database. This course is available through the AERA-Virtual Research Learning Center ( ).

CPSR-at the University of Michigan. Applicants are encouraged to consult the MET study website that is based at ICPSR This website provides information about accessing the MET data; codebooks and instruments that can be downloaded; and research reports, policy briefs, and other publications that have resulted from this project.

ET Project. The MET Project website,, contains information about the development of the data, project history and news, and potential issues and topics that studies might address.

Project dates
AERA is somewhat flexible on research project dates, depending on what is best for the applicant. The earliest date a grant may start is August 2016.

ding restrictions

AERA-MET Fellows may not accept concurrent grant or fellowship awards from a federal or state agency, foundation, institution or the like for the same dissertation project. If the awardee is offered more than one major grant or fellowship for the same project for the same time period, in order to accept the AERA-MET funding the other award(s) must be declined. Awardees may accept research or teaching assistantship appointments at their doctoral institutions and may have additional employment.

valuation criteria

The AERA MET initiative aims to support rigorous and methodologically sound research on issues that expand our knowledge of schools, schooling issues, classroom practices, children and youth, and other educational issues. These studies cut across a broad range of theoretical perspectives, research methods, and analytical plans to develop studies that address the following criteria:

     What is the potential for the study to advance knowledge and understanding with the discipline and/or the education field?

     What is already known on the issue?
•     How appropriate is the MET data set to address the research questions? How well does the analytic plan fit the data?
•     Is the applicant qualified to carry out the proposed study?
•     How does the methodology relate specifically to the policy question?

Review and Selection Process

The AERA-MET Advisory Committee comprised of senior scholars and researchers will review and evaluate the proposals. When necessary, ad hoc scholars may provide external reviews to inform the Committee’s recommendation either to fund or decline each proposal. Reviews are treated as confidential documents. In some cases the applicant will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding; however, AERA is unable to provide proposal feedback to all applicants.

Award Notification

AERA will notify all applicants of their proposal outcome no later than July, 2016. All decisions and communication will be through e-mail. Awards must be administered through their university. Note that institutions cannot charge for indirect or administrative costs.


lease address any questions to or 202-238-3200.

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