AERA Grants Program Holds Fall Research Conference
AERA Grants Program Holds Fall Research Conference

Felice J. Levine (AERA Executive Director)

November 2017

On November 1–3, the AERA Grants Program welcomed education research scientists and federal agency representatives to its Fall Research Conference. This invited conference featured advanced graduate students and early career scholars presenting research funded by the program.

The fall conference brought together the new cohort of dissertation awards; those who recently completed their dissertations; and new, early career research award recipients supported by the Grants Program. Scholars presented their completed dissertation research and discussed next steps for developing their research agendas. The AERA Grants Program operates under the aegis of a governing board of senior scholars who also participated in the conference. 

Finbarr Sloane (National Science

AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine, who is principal investigator of the Grants Program, and Finbarr Sloane, program director in NSF’s Education & Human Resources Directorate, kicked off the conference and discussed how the program aligns with the NSF goals of emphasizing STEM research, supporting data use, and training the next generation of scholars and researchers. 

Nimmi Kannankutty
(National Science Foundation)

Nimmi Kannankutty, deputy division director of NSF’s Division of Graduate Education, discussed many of the data sources available to scholars wishing to use large-scale data to examine education research questions.

A key aspect of the conference was the data training and research concepts discussed throughout the sessions. Board members Larry V. Hedges (Northwestern University) and William H. Schmidt (Michigan State University) presented lectures on data replication and causal inference, respectively. Throughout the conference, grantees had opportunities to engage and network with the governing board members, federal agency representatives, and their peers. 

Sarah Sparks (Education Week), Dan Berrett
(The Chronicle of Higher Education),
and Tony Pals (AERA)

Beyond attention to substance and methods, the conference included a panel discussion on “How to Make Your Research Newsworthy” with Sarah Sparks from Education Week and Dan Berrett from The Chronicle of Higher Education. Moderated by AERA Communications Director Tony Pals, these journalists shared advice and guidance on how to work with the reporters and make research findings of interest to broader publics.

A hallmark of the AERA Grants Program is the professional development and training it provides to participants.

“The opportunity to build capacity for significant research along with networking opportunities distinguishes this program and attracts graduate students and early career researchers” said Barbara Schneider (Michigan State University), chair of the AERA Grants Program Governing Board.

With eight competitive awards from the National Science Foundation since 1990, the Grants Program is dedicated to the advanced quantitative analysis of large-scale, federally funded data sets to address education research topics such as mathematics education, classroom experiences, and other topics related to STEM learning and education.

The AERA Grants Program has funded over 500 graduate students and early career scholars since its inception. It has launched scholars and their research agendas, produced significant findings related to STEM education and learning, and contributed to fostering a culture of data use. Studies funded through this program use such data sets as the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, High School Longitudinal Study, and other data resources developed by the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The table below lists the recently awarded AERA Grants Program Dissertation and Research Grant recipients and former grantees who participated in the conference

AERA Grants Program Dissertation and Research Grantees Funded Projects

Chris Curran

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Early elementary science instruction: Estimating the impacts of instructional time, content, coverage, and pedagogy on equity in and achievement on science in kindergarten through second grade

Denisa Gandara

Southern Methodist University

The "promise" of free tuition and impacts on college enrollment: Differences across race and socioeconomic status

HyeJin Hwang

University of Michigan

Do knowledge and motivation matter? The role of prior knowledge and reading motivation in reading achievement in the elementary years

Eun Sook Kim

University of South Florida

Beyond testing measurement invariance in cross-national comparative studies with international education data: Investigating sources of heterogeneity

Scott Latham

University of Virginia

Kids today: The rise in children’s academic skills at kindergarten entry

Se Woong Lee

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pulling back the curtain: The cumulative effects of having high-performing and qualified teachers on students’ educational outcomes

Hannah Miller

Brandeis University

Do boys benefit disproportionately from “good” schools? How gender disparities in achievement and attainment vary across U.S. high schools

Federick Ngo

University of Southern California

High school all over again: The problem of redundant college mathematics

Soojin Park

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Identification and sensitivity analysis for average causal mediation effects with time-varying treatments and mediators: Investigating the underlying mechanisms of kindergarten retention policy

David Quinn

University of Southern California

Trends in the seasonal dynamics of test score gaps by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status: Evidence from the ECLS-K:99 and ECLS-K:2011

Emily Rauscher

University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc.

When does money matter? School funding and inequality of educational achievement

Deborah Reed

University of Iowa

PIAAC prison data analysis

Awilda Rodriguez

University of Michigan

Moving the needle: The roles of institutional quality, capacity, an student choice in college completion

Karina Salazar

The University of Arizona

Suburbios o Barrios? Using data science to study off-campus recruiting by public research universities

Matthew Shirrell

The George Washington University

The effects of subgroup-specific accountability on teacher job assignments, turnover, and attrition

Adela Soliz

Harvard Graduate School of Education

College competition: The effect of for-profit colleges on the market for higher education

Justina Judy Spicer

Michigan State University

Measuring student engagement in science classrooms: An investigation of the contextual factors and longitudinal outcomes

Dan Su

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Planned missing data designs in large-scale assessments: Design and imputation

Kendra Taylor

The Pennsylvania State University

Racial and income segregation at multiple geographic scales in large U.S. school districts

Dana Thomson

Boston College

Changing circumstances, changing outcomes? Longitudinal relations between family income, cumulative risk exposure, and child outcomes

Jennifer Timmer

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Improving math and reading outcomes for English learners

James Dean Ward

University of Southern California

Does financial dependency impact the effectiveness of performance-based funding policies? Considerations for equity, policy design, and heterogeneous policy effects

Adrienne Woods

University of Michigan

Who is placed in special education? Assessing the longitudinal profiles and academic achievement of students at-risk for special education identification

AERA Grants Program grantees will present their research in a poster session during the 2018 Annual Meeting. For more information about the Grants Program visit the AERA website

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