AERA Announces 2020 Education Research Conference Grant Recipients
AERA Announces 2020 Education Research Conference Grant Recipients

December 2020

AERA has announced the selection of six proposals to receive funding through the Education Research Conferences Program. The six were selected from a high-quality pool of proposals received during the 2020 submissions cycle.

Since 2010, the program has awarded 62 grants of up to $35,000 for conferences intended to break new ground in substantive areas of inquiry, stimulate new lines of study on issues that have been largely unexplored, or develop innovative research methods or techniques that can contribute more generally to education research.

“Through the Education Research Conferences Program, AERA fosters the accumulation of knowledge of the highest quality and enhances the dissemination of that knowledge,” said AERA Associate Executive Director Lori Diane Hill. “We could not be more pleased with the range and significance of this year’s awards. It augurs well that they will have an impact on future research directions and opportunities.”

Indigenous-Language Immersion and Native American Student Achievement: A Symposium to Advance New Research and Innovative Education Practice

Principal Investigator(s): Teresa L. McCarty (University of California, Los Angeles), Tiffany  S. Lee (University of New Mexico), Sheilah E. Nicholas (University of Arizona), and Michael Seltzer (University of California, Los Angeles)

Managing Institution: University of California, Los Angeles


This symposium brings together university-based researchers and education practitioners to examine a new national database on Indigenous-language immersion (ILI) schooling. More than a single instructional intervention, ILI is a holistic approach aimed at revitalizing and sustaining endangered Indigenous languages simultaneously with the promotion of academic parity and the well-being of students’ cultural communities. This approach has more than three decades of implementation history. Yet, prior to this study, no systematic national database existed. How, when, for whom, and under what conditions is ILI beneficial? What are the implications for education policy and practice for underserved Native American and other minoritized learners?

These questions drive the national study and anchor the symposium. Although the numbers of ILI programs are relatively small, this unique database offers a rich opportunity to examine the effects of complex, holistic, community-based education innovations for diverse, historically underserved learners. The two-day symposium, to be administered through UCLA, will be held in June 2021 in Santa Monica, CA. The symposium will pair the presentation of data from the national study with presentations by ILI case study Partner Site participants, who will share promising practices, implementation challenges, and how those challenges are being addressed. This will be followed by interactive roundtables intended to (1) foster new research-practice collaborations among partner sites and the research team; (2) expand innovative methods for work with Indigenous schools; and (3) generate an action plan for the dissemination of findings. This structure is intended to refine and sharpen the study’s findings, promote knowledge-sharing and professional network-building among Indigenous education practitioners and researchers, and support the uptake of findings in practice and policy-relevant ways. The symposium will lead to an edited volume on new ILI research and innovative pedagogical practices, and to collective projects, policy initiatives, and other publications by symposium participants.

Bridging the Rainbow Gap: Transcending Disciplinary Boundaries in K-12 and Higher Education LGBTQ Scholarship

Principal Investigator(s): Kamden Strunk (Auburn University), Ryan Schey (Auburn University), and Antonio Duran (Auburn University)

Managing Institution: Auburn University


In recent decades, there has been important growth in queer and trans studies in educational research, with independent subfields emerging in K-12 and higher education. Though scholars in each area have generated valuable knowledge, these subfields have developed in parallel rather than in conjunction, with each subfield having its distinct foundational literature, methodological and theoretical traditions, research questions, premier research journals and conferences, and so forth. Although this trend has helped build knowledge about educational experiences in K-12 and higher education separately, it has also resulted in disconnects, redundancies, and gaps in the larger field. The separation of the subfields has functioned as an impendent to larger knowledge construction, such as theory building and modeling. In other instances, research phenomena or theories have variously waxed and waned across the two areas, resulting in redundancies as one subfield newly takes up questions already explored substantively in the other. Additionally, this disconnect has resulted in a theory-to-practice divide where often scholarship fails to translate across these K-12 and higher education spheres, as do the ways that educators and scholars work with students, faculty, staff, and organizations. The proposed research conference seeks to intervene in these disconnects by bringing together a range of emerging and established scholars in K-12 and higher education research who focus on queer and trans studies. It will bring researchers into shared conversations around areas of interests and research phenomena rather than using educational contexts as organizational heuristics. In doing so, the conference will foster new knowledge generation and translation into practice in the short term. In the long term, it will help initiate a convergent set of scholarly conversations that will disrupt the previous disconnects across subfields as it relates to research and practice.

Anti-Racist, Anti-Oppression, Decolonized Research Methodology Curriculum Design Working Conference Proposal

Principal Investigator(s): Michael Russell (Boston College) and Katherine Reynold (Boston College)

Managing Institution: Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment Department, Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Boston College


To support the development of the next generations of researchers who engage in research sensitive to and focused on issues of racism, sexism, ableism and the many other forms of oppression, a new research methodology curriculum what embraces anti-racist, antioppression and decolonized (AROD) frames is needed. The purpose of the conference proposed here is to gather scholars with a diverse array of specializations who have engaged in these lines of research to initiate the development of an AROD research methodology curriculum. Specifically, this conference will achieve two main objectives: 1) Draft a program of study that will enable students to attain the proposed AROD research program outcomes; and 2) Identify specific curricular materials (e.g., seminal readings, research experiences, assessments) and identify resources in need of development in order to provide students participating in AROD research training programs with more thorough and focused learning experiences

Advancing Professional Development School (PDS) Research: Exploring a Collaborative National Research Agenda

Principal Investigator(s): Susan Ogletree (Georgia State University), Rebecca West Burns (South Florida University), Janna Dresden (George Mason University), Linda A. Catelli (City University of New York), and Gwendolyn Benson (Georgia State University)

Managing Institution: Georgia State University


Developed by Georgia State University and the PDS Research Special Interest Group of the AERA and building upon the Spencer Foundation Conference Grant (2019) received by the University of South Carolina to explore and promote PDS research and scholarship across the Southeastern United States, this three-day conference focuses on advancing PDS research by capitalizing on the collective PDS knowledge that comes out of the Spencer Foundation Conference Grant to begin to build a collaborative, national school-university partnership research agenda. Twenty scholars, researchers and practitioners from different regions, representing diverse perspectives and varied domains of inquiry and methodology will convene to present their views, theories, research and research approaches. They will collaborate during intense working seminars to prioritize promising research strategies, topics and questions. More specifically, the objectives are to: - Articulate a collaborative National School-University PDS Research Agenda inclusive of national associations, scholars, researchers, and practitioners to include identification of priorities, focus areas, and sets of related research questions and projects. - Increase the participants’ research capacity as a group for investigating School-University Partnerships, PDSs and the PDS both the university and school levels - Increase the participants’ grant writing capacity as a group for investigating School-University Partnerships - Facilitate the development of strong relationships among participants through development of new partnerships and networking experiences - Create teams of participants who will agree on shared research questions to investigate, and who will team with national associations for grants and projects Emphases for increasing research capacity will be placed on and linked to investigating (a) the effectiveness and impacts of PDSs; (b) academic achievement and the PDS model; (c) the impact of core PDS practices; (d) the processes and outcomes of PDSs; and (e) the influence of PDS research on policy. Also, avenues for researching the integration of the parts of the four-pronged PDS model and the role theory plays are explored. The overarching goal of this groundbreaking conference is to explore and begin to articulate a national research agenda that will not only foster greater collaboration and coordination among researchers and practitioners but also lead to improved quality-research in and on PDSs. In addition to articulation of a national research agenda, the outcomes of the conference will include a book, and three podcasts focused on conversations with nationally acclaimed researchers and practitioners in exemplary school-university partnerships and researchers.


The Missing Discourses of Geographies, Genders, and Sexualities in Education Research on Black Girls

Principal Investigator(s): Esther O. Ohito (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Sherry L. Deckman (City University of New York)

Managing Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


There has been a recent increase in education research on Black girls. Much of this research necessarily irradiates the miseducation received by this group, and the specific harms that this population endures as a direct result of the dominant (mis)perceptions of Black girls. However, within this scholarship, the category and construction of Black girlhood itself is rarely robustly theorized and/or articulated as contested beyond topical references to fixed notions of race and gender. This conference contributes to education research that prompts engagements with Black girlhood as an inherently dynamic and plural category by functioning as a venue for examining the philosophical, sociological, historical, and other foundational contexts of the geographies, genders, and sexualities of Black girlhoods. Conference participants will disrupt the meta narrative of Black girlhood as a narrowly singular category by irradiating how geographies (defined here as specificity of context and location or situatedness in space and place), as well as the expansiveness and expressiveness of genders and sexualities, intersect with other identities (e.g., race, class, dis/ability, religion, ethnicity, etc.) to shape Black school-aged girls’ multiplicitous experiences of Black girlhoods. The scholarship generated will provide education researchers and organizational stakeholders with tools useful for complicating and expanding orientations and approaches to curricula, pedagogies, policies, and/or programs for varied types of Black girls. Ultimately, the conference aims to improve how stakeholders address and attend to the nuanced educational needs, rich knowledges, and textured lived experiences of the multitudes of Black girls who constitute and are constituted by multiple iterations of Black girlhoods, including those who are other than middle-class, heterosexual, and cisgender, and who, consequently, exist on the margins of mainstream conceptualizations of the idealized Black girl. Additionally, the conference will provide mentorship and networking opportunities for scholars whose work shows the potential to advance education research on Black girls.

Computer Science for Multilingual Students

Principal Investigator(s): Mark Warschauer (UC Irvine)

Managing Institution: UC Irvine


This conference will bring together researchers and practitioners to conduct research that will contribute to our understanding of the linguistic and sociocultural processes that help English learners succeed in mastering computational thinking. The objectives of the convening are three-fold: First, to provide a venue to share research findings emerging from these efforts, including successes and challenges in implementing district-wide initiatives focusing on teaching computational thinking to linguistically diverse students; second, to allow researchers to discuss challenges in assessing work that stems from this highly nascent and emerging field and generate innovative solutions to address those research challenges; and, finally, to begin documenting and disseminating promising strategies to support English learners’ success in the field of computer science, beginning in early elementary grades and continuing to secondary studies and beyond. The convening will allow researchers from across the nation to bridge two main research areas: 1) established findings focusing on engaging English learners in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and 2) emerging research on broadening participation in computer science. By providing opportunities for these two learning communities to come together, we will develop a shared vision for how research can support English learners in computer science, while emphasizing the need for developing empirical studies that will generate strong evidence in support of these goals.