Research and Science Policy Forum Engages Attendees in Major Issues in Education Research
Research and Science Policy Forum Engages Attendees in Major Issues in Education Research

April 2019

Perspectives and Priorities of Foundations
Supporting Education Research Panelists
(Left to Right): Kent McGuire, Sara
Vecchiotti, Adam Gamoran, and 
Na'ilah Suad Nasir

The 2019 AERA Annual Meeting included 24 invited sessions as part of its Research and Science Policy Forum, featuring new reports from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; updates from federal agency representatives; and discussion on open knowledge. The forum is intended to engage meeting attendees in important issues at the intersection of education research and science policy.

The forum highlighted four recent consensus reports released by the National Academies charting the current state of research and future directions:

Sessions on these reports convened members of the report committees to provide overviews of their key findings and recommendations, with invited commentators to reflect on the reports and provide their perspectives.

Karen Marrongelle

The forum also offered attendees a chance to learn more about engaging in open knowledge—including multiple formats for data sharing and registration of research. A workshop on data sharing included informational sessions and roundtable breakout discussions with AERA editors, leaders of the major data repositories, and other experts who spoke about the whys, hows, and value of data sharing.

Karen Marrongelle, assistant director of the Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR) at the National Science Foundation (NSF), spoke to a packed room about priorities and aspirations for EHR, including EHR’s role in the NSF’s 10 Big Ideas. Marrongelle also provided insight into how EHR can address the updated federal five-year strategic plan for STEM education and its three major areas: building foundations for STEM literacy; increasing inclusion, equity, and diversity in STEM; and preparing the STEM workforce.

In addition to Marrongelle’s talk, meeting attendees had the opportunity to meet with NSF program officers representing a variety of programs throughout EHR. Elizabeth VanderPutten, deputy director for EHR’s Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings, and James Griffin, acting chief for the Child Development and Behavior Branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, provided an update on funding opportunities available at their respective agencies.

Attendees also heard from foundation leaders on the state of philanthropy in education research and recent activities by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Foundation for Child Development, and the Hewlett Foundation to focus on inequity.

Several forum sessions focused on AERA initiatives, including a conversation among AERA Congressional Fellows, use of Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing in classrooms, and an examination of middle childhood to highlight an emerging topic of interest among the early career scholars in AERA’s joint fellowship program with the Society for Research on Child Development.

A complete listing of Research and Science Policy Forum sessions is available on the AERA website.