AERA Awarded Grant to Support Research Training in Deeper Learning
AERA Awarded Grant to Support Research Training in Deeper Learning

December 2018

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has awarded AERA a $1.5 million grant to support the AERA Fellowship Program on the Study of Deeper Learning (AERA-SDL). Over the next four years the program will provide research funding, professional development, and research training to three cohorts of postdoctoral-level and early career scholars to use data from the American Institutes for Research’s (AIR) Study of Deeper Learning in their work. Fellows will work closely with a team of researchers and scholars from AIR to analyze the Deeper Learning data and produce academic and policy publications.

Deeper Learning data include a wealth of information from schools, students, teachers, and principals at a sample of Deeper Learning network and nonnetwork high schools that allows researchers to address questions connecting students’ high school experiences and achievement with high school graduation and postsecondary outcomes.  

The AERA-SDL program launched in 2016, with an inaugural cohort of eight fellows. The fellows worked closely with research scientists at AIR and other senior researchers to analyze the Deeper Learning data to address salient research questions and issues. They presented their research in poster sessions at the 2017 and 2018 AERA annual meetings and have developed studies that are expected to be published as journal articles, book chapters, and policy reports.

The three cohorts of AERA-SDL fellows funded by the new grant will also each consist of up to eight scholars. 

A call for proposals and an informational webinar with AIR research scientists will be available in January 2019, with an anticipated March 2019 deadline for proposals.

AERA-SDL applicants will be asked to propose research projects using the Deeper Learning data to address research questions around student experiences, achievement, and trajectories to higher education. Studies that emphasize methods and the psychometric properties of the data set also will be considered. Fellows will receive up to $25,000 in research support and will participate in professional development activities, small conferences, and the AERA Annual Meeting.

“The AERA-SDL Fellowship represents the efforts in research capacity building and knowledge sharing that are core to the AERA Professional Development and Training Program,” said George L. Wimberly, fellowship principal investigator and AERA director of professional development. “We are grateful that the Hewlett Foundation is funding this important initiative to support early career scholars and create new knowledge.”

The Deeper Learning data set includes student survey data examining opportunities to engage in deeper learning, intra- and inter-personal competencies, and students’ perceptions of their schools. Teacher and principal survey data provide further information about each school’s academic culture and relationships between faculty/administrators and students. The new cohorts of AERA-SDL researchers will have the benefit of data that follow students into postsecondary education.

For further information about the AERA-SDL, contact George Wimberly ( or 202-238-3200).