2020 Awards




Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education Award

Recipient: Howard Gardner (Harvard University)

Dr. Howard Gardner is internationally known for his theory of multiple intelligences, which has profoundly transformed the field of education in authentic assessment, teacher development, human potential, and curriculum design and implementation. His interdisciplinary research program, including Project Zero and the Good Project, has advanced groundbreaking understanding of student creativity and engagement. His research contributions have been recognized by the MacArthur Prize Fellowship, the John S. Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, and numerous prestigious fellowships and awards. He is truly a luminary in education research whose work and contributions embody the spirit of this award.

The Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education Award is the premier acknowledgment of outstanding achievement and success in education research. It is designed to publicize, motivate, encourage, and suggest models for education research at its best. 



Distinguished Public Service Award

Recipient: Eddie Bernice Johnson (U.S. Representative, Texas)

First elected to Congress in 1992, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has tirelessly championed diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM education and the workforce. She has worked in a bipartisan manner to promote research and data collection to help develop strategies to increase participation of women and minorities in STEM. She championed the America COMPETES Act and other legislation emphasizing research and data use to inform National Science Foundation policy and programs and federal funding for STEM research and infrastructure. As current chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, she has prioritized understanding and addressing sexual harassment in science.

This award is granted annually in recognition of an individual who has worked to enact or implement policies that are well grounded in education research, or who has been at the forefront of efforts to increase recognition and support for education research.


Palmer O. Johnson Memorial Award

Recipients: Carolyn J. Heinrich (Vanderbilt University), Jennifer Darling-Aduana (Vanderbilt University), Annalee Good (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Huiping (Emily) Cheng (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
A Look Inside Online Educational Settings in High School: Promise and Pitfalls for Improving Educational Opportunities and Outcomes
American Educational Research Journal, Volume 56, Issue 6, December 2019

This multi-layered, mixed methods study is an extraordinary example of the power of the genre. Drawing on 7 million records of online instructional sessions linked to student records, the authors were able to examine both short-term (course pass rates) and medium-term (growth on achievement tests) outcomes in a large urban district, and identify which students were able to benefit from online instructions. Qualitative methods allowed the authors to identify that insufficient instructional support was provided for the traditionally marginalized, less well prepared students, who were most likely to be assigned to these courses and least likely to benefit from them. This research is comprehensive in its scope and depth, carefully executed, and extremely timely, providing critical policy guidance for districts engaged in online instruction.

This award recognizes the lifelong achievement of Palmer O. Johnson as a dedicated educator and for his pioneering work in educational research and methodology. The award is given for an outstanding article appearing in AERA Open, the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Researcher, or the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics.

E.F. Lindquist Award

Recipient: Randy E. Bennett (Educational Testing Service)

During much of his career at ETS, Dr. Randy E. Bennett has worked on applying insights from cognitive psychology to improving educational assessment, with a special emphasis on linking assessment to instruction. For over a decade he directed CBAL, a project on Cognitively Based Assessment of, for, and as Learning at ETS, where he has developed a unified model for formative and summative assessments in reading, writing, and science. Dr. Bennett is a prolific scholar, having edited or co-edited seven books, thirty book chapters, and seventy journal articles, as well as scores of technical reports. In addition to this award, he has served as president of the National Council on Measurement in Education and the International Association for Educational Assessment.

This award is presented jointly by AERA and ACT in recognition of outstanding applied or theoretical research in the field of testing and measurement. The award is meant to acknowledge a body of research of an empirical, theoretical, or integrative nature rather than a single study.


Early Career Award

Recipient: Lindsay Page (University of Pittsburgh)

Dr. Lindsay C. Page is a prolific researcher and scholar in education policy research. Her work has significantly contributed to improving college access and success for students living in underserved areas, to the examination of school district policy and practice, and to using principal stratification to inform policy research. She has pub-lished extensively in peer-reviewed journals and co-authored a significant book, Summer Melt: Supporting Low-Income Students Through the Transition to College. This volume, much like her scholarly articles, demonstrates her ability to use strong quantitative methods to address important educational policy issues, and to communicate effectively to multiple audiences, including policy makers, researchers, and practitioners.

Established to honor an individual in the early stages of their career no later than 10 years after receipt of the doctoral degree, this award is granted for study in any field of educational inquiry.


Outstanding Book Award

Recipient: Leilani Sabzalian (University of Oregon)
Indigenous Children's Survivance in Public Schools

Indigenous Children’s Survivance in Public Schools, by Dr. Leilani Sabzalian (Alutiiq), provides a powerful window into the historical and contemporary legacies of colonialism in Indigenous education in the United States. As a collective, these stories highlight the ways that colonization continues to shape the experiences of Native students in schools. Dr. Sabzalian documents the resilience of these students, their families, and the complexities of efforts by educators to wrestle with these colonial legacies. Methodologically, the book integrates critical historiography with detailed ethnographic documentation through stories of survivance. The volume beautifully invites critical interrogation of contemporary challenges and opportunities in Indigenous education, often off the radar screen of research, practice, and policy.

The Outstanding Book Award was established to acknowledge and honor the year’s best book-length publication in education research and development.


Social Justice in Education Award

Recipient: David Stovall (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Dr. David Omotoso Stovall’s interdisciplinary scholarship engages the social sciences, humanities, history, philosophy, curriculum and public policy to address unjust pressing educational and societal issues. Beyond his substantial scholarly achievements, he has also volunteered to teach social studies for thirteen years at the Greater Lawndale/Little Village School for Social Justice while also teaching at the university. Of particular note are the humanizing and critical ways Dr. Stovall remains accountable to members with whom he partners within schools and community-based organizations in the continuing struggle for justice.

Established in 2004, the Social Justice in Education Award honors an individual who has advanced social justice through education research and exemplified the goal of linking education research to social justice.


Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education Research Award

Recipient: Jessica Ringrose (University College, London)

Dr. Jessica Ringrose is an outstanding scholar, researcher, and activist who has worked toward social justice in gender and sexuality for more than 20 years, partnering with universities, school districts, government officials and programs, and non-profits across the globe to make an important conceptual, empirical, and political impact in the field. Dr. Ringrose’s research has changed attitudes toward gender inequity, sexism, and sexual violence. Her research has addressed youth sexting, gender inequity, sexualization, sexual harassment, and sexist sexualization in London public advertising. Young people, teachers, parents, and the public have benefitted from her work training civil servants and teachers in gender equity and designing curriculum to tackle gender and sexual inequalities in youth culture in the digital age.

Established in 2006, the Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education Research Award recognizes individuals within AERA for distinguished research, professional practice, and activities that advance public understanding of gender and/or sexuality at any level in the education community.


Exemplary Contributions to Practice-Engaged Research Award

Recipient: Maria Coady (University of Florida)

The selection committee was deeply impressed with Dr. Maria R. Coady’s long-term efforts in developing community partnerships for the preparation of teacher leaders in a university certification program with a focus on bilingual education teachers and students in rural Levy County, Florida. To serve this community, Dr. Coady established professional learning communities and built a strong resource base that brought much-needed bilingual materials to under-researched and under-served bilingual children. In 2019, she organized the first statewide Rural English Learner Education Conference at the University of Florida on trauma-informed care. Because of her broad reach, impact, scholarship, and devotion to a marginal community within an already marginal rural context in Florida, Dr. Coady embodies the intent of this award.

This award is presented to an education research scholar or scholars in recognition of collaborative project(s) between researchers and practitioners that have had sustained and observable effects on contexts of practice.


Outstanding Public Communication of Education Research Award

Recipient: Morgan Polikoff (University of Southern California)

This award honors scholars exemplary in their capacity to communicate the importance of education research to the broad public, including education communities. It recognizes scholars who have excelled in conveying important findings and research to wide audiences and who have demonstrated the capacity to deepen understanding and appreciation of the value of education research in the public sphere.


Review of Research Award

Recipient: Francis A. Pearman, II (Stanford University) (formerly University of Pittsburgh) 
Gentrification and Academic Achievement: A Review of Recent Research.” Review of Educational Research, Volume 89, Issue 1, February 2019

This article examines literature on gentrification and underlying mechanisms of gentrification with respect to academic achievement, social ecology, institutional composition, residential stability, and environmental conditions of urban neighborhoods. Synthesizing evidence from different fields of inquiry—including organizational theory, urban planning, segregation, sociology, and education—Francis Pearman offers a fresh and generative conversation, demonstrating both empirical sophistication and control of complex phenomena. The article is both conceptually tight and conceptually inclusive. It stands as a model for review papers in simultaneously grounding analysis within foundational texts and in depicting the dynamism of a phenomenon as it continues unfolding in our world today.

This award is given in recognition of an outstanding review of research article appearing in the Review of Research in Education or the Review of Educational Research.


Scholars of Color Distinguished Career Contribution Award

Recipient: María Estela Brisk (Boston College)

Dr. María Estela Brisk’s work has been fundamental to the study of language and education. Since the 1960s, she has been a leader in national conversations about literacy and bilingualism. In fact, some colleagues point to Dr. Brisk’s work as instrumental in normalizing the study of language education and fueling the development of the field of bilingual education studies. She has also been a national leader in bridging research and practice to transform the ways in which educators talk about and engage language in students’ learning processes.

Presented to a senior-level scholar, usually 20 years or more after receipt of the doctoral degree, this award is intended to recognize (a) scholars who have made significant contributions to the understanding of issues that disproportionately affect minority populations, and (b) minority scholars who have made a significant contribution to education research and development.   


Scholars of Color Mid-Career Contribution Award

Recipient: Adrienne D. Dixson (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

Dr. Adrienne D. Dixson’s research focuses on how race, class, and gender shape educational equity and the experiences of traditionally underserved student populations in urban schools. Dr. Dixson has advanced theoretical knowledge and conversations regarding the role of race and racism in education through her own scholarship over the last two decades, but equally important is the fact that she has also been a leader in creating opportunities and outlets for other scholars of color to advance conversations about racial equity in U.S. education.

Presented to a scholar in mid-career who is beyond the first level of professional appointment and for whom 10 or more years have passed since receipt of the doctoral degree, this award is intended to recognize (a) scholars who have made significant contributions to the understanding of issues that disproportionately affect minority populations, and (b) minority scholars who have made a significant contribution to education research and development.

Scholars of Color Early Career Contribution Award

Recipient: Jessica C. Harris (University of California, Los Angeles)

Dr. Jessica C. Harris‘s research critically analyzes the ways in which systemic oppression and dominant paradigms shape higher education and lead to educational and social inequities. In addition, her scholarship has expanded knowledge about how these structures shape the identities and experiences of college faculty, student affairs professionals, and students within higher education. Her theoretically innovative and methodologically rigorous research has shined a spotlight on critical populations that are often silenced in education research, including multiracial populations and victims of sexual violence.

Presented to a scholar who is within the first decade of their career after receipt of a doctoral degree, this award is intended to recognize (a) scholars who have made significant contributions to the understanding of issues that disproportionately affect minority populations, and (b) minority scholars who have made a significant contribution to education research and development.

2021 Call for AERA Award Nominations

The nomination deadline has passed.

A Celebration of Education Research: Honoring Excellence and Accomplishment

Watch the video to learn more about the importance of recognizing excellence in education research. 

2020 AERA Virtual Awards Celebration

On October 3, 2020, AERA held a Virtual Awards Celebration to honor and celebrate the recipients of the 2020 AERA-wide awards. View the event program. Read the Highlights story. View the In Memoriam PowerPoint slides.

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