AERA Members Sonia Cabell, Sandra Chafouleas, and Jeremy Stoddard Commemorate IES 20th Anniversary
AERA Members Sonia Cabell, Sandra Chafouleas, and Jeremy Stoddard Commemorate IES 20th Anniversary

February 2023

Top row, from left to right: Sonia Cabell, Sandra Chafouleas
Bottom row: Jeremy Stoddard 

As part of commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), AERA is amplifying stories from education researchers whose work and accomplishments have been positively impacted by IES funding. In this month’s AERA Highlights, we feature three distinguished AERA members whose work has been supported through IES funding.

Jeremy Stoddard, professor and the faculty chair of the secondary education program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, described IES’s recently adopted role in supporting research in civics and social studies education, particularly as one of the few sources of federal funding for this topic. His IES grant has informed the development of the PurpleState curriculum, focused on developing argumentative reading and writing and the development of self-efficacy for media and civic engagement.

“This research topic will provide greater opportunities for diverse teams of researchers to engage in high-quality studies at a larger scale than has generally been possible in the field,” Stoddard wrote. “These studies in turn will help to both drive the intellectual and research capacity of the field and inform national and state/local policy on what high-quality curriculum and pedagogies should look like in civics and social studies classrooms and informal learning contexts.”

Sandra Chafouleas, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor and Neag Endowed Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut, detailed the trajectory of her IES-supported research involving the development of measures for identifying social, emotional, and behavioral risk and the use of those measures in schools.

In addition to IES’s contributions to evidence-based policy and practice, Chafouleas spoke about its role in developing the education research workforce. “I am particularly thankful to IES for competitions that support postdoctoral research training, such as Project PBER,” Chafouleas wrote. “I view this avenue as providing high returns in preparing researchers in ways that cannot be accomplished through graduate training alone.”

Sonia Cabell, associate professor of education at Florida State University, highlighted IES’s role in supporting interventions to address reading difficulties for young learners, including her work through several IES grants to develop high-quality curriculum.

“Through IES efficacy projects, I saw how difficult it was to improve children’s oral language skills in early childhood classroom settings,” Cabell wrote. “One key take-away for me from this early work was that to improve children’s learning, teachers needed more than professional development and coaching, they also needed curricular materials.”

In addition, IES has elevated the work and observations of AERA members who have been recipients of its funding. Sarah Brasiel, a program officer at the National Center for Special Education Research,  wrote a post for the Inside IES Research blog that described the IES-supported accomplishments of AERA Fellows Douglas Fuchs (American Institutes for Research and Vanderbilt University) and Lynn Fuchs (American Institutes for Research and Vanderbilt University). Their work has been instrumental in developing tools to support struggling learners and students with, or at risk of, disabilities in reading and math. IES also featured quotes from AERA Fellow Doug Harris (Tulane University) and AERA member Henry May (University of Delaware).