AERA Grants Program Holds Fall Research Conference

November 2018

Finbarr (Barry) Sloane, NSF

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

The fall conference gathered the new cohort of dissertation awardees, 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 received guidance from senior scholars who serve on the program’s Governing Board. Throughout the conference, grantees had opportunities to engage and network with the Governing Board members, federal agency representatives, and their peers.

The graduate students and early career scholars participating in the program all use large-scale, federally funded data sets to address education research topics such as mathematics education, literacy, school discipline policies, student motivation, and other topics related to STEM learning and education.

Finbarr (Barry) Sloane, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Education and Human Resources Directorate, delivered a keynote address and highlighted how the program aligns with the NSF goals of supporting data use, supporting STEM research, and training the next generation of scholars and researchers.

Arthur (Skip) Lupia, NSF

Arthur (Skip) Lupia, assistant director of the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate at NSF, led a second keynote session. Engaging all participants, Lupia unraveled the elements of communicating research effectively to multiple and diverse audiences, a central focus of the Grants Program.

A key aspect of the conference was the data training and research concepts discussed throughout the sessions. AERA Grants Governing Board Chair Barbara Schneider (Michigan State University) and Board member Chandra Muller (University of Texas at Austin) opened the conference with a group discussion and exercise around developing research questions that can inform change in policies and practice using the federal large-scale data sets.

Grantees also participated in an interactive workshop on Open Science, led by Felice J. Levine, AERA executive director and Grants Program principal investigator, and David Mellor, project manager at the Center for Open Science. The workshop focused on steps researchers can take to share data and pre-register developing studies, and ways to foster research that is transparent and reproducible. Participants discussed a series of guidelines and practices to improve transparency in research reporting and to encourage open science.

Discussions of trust in science and professional work were continued in an interactive session on sexual harassment in the academy and science. Levine, co-led a discussion on sexual harassment and culture change with Billy M. Williams, vice-president for ethics, diversity, and inclusion at the American Geophysical Union. Williams served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ committee that prepared the 2018 report on Sexual Harassment of Women

Billy Williams (via Skype), American Geophysical Union;
Felice J. Levine, AERA

In addition to discussing data and recommendations from that report, this session also considered the recently released NSF policy that requires awardee organizations to report findings of sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, or sexual assault regarding an NSF-funded PI or co-PI. Levine and Williams reiterated that this policy is aimed at creating a safe and open environment for all to produce research.


Professional development and training are at the core of the AERA Grants Program.

“Early career is an important stage to learn fundamental research skills and experience the latest innovations in science training,” said Schneider. “This program is an excellent opportunity for graduate students and early career scholars to use large-scale data to address important questions in education research, network with scholars who are using these data, and discuss advances in the field.”

NSF has funded the AERA Grants Program since 1990 through eight consecutive awards. This had led to support of over 500 graduate students and early career scholars. It has helped scholars to launch their careers and develop their research agendas. Their research studies have appeared in peer- reviewed journals, books, and other publications across the behavioral and social sciences.

AERA Grants Program grantees will present their research in a poster session during the 2019 Annual Meeting. 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

Aaron Anthony
University of Pittsburgh

Assessing the Accuracy, Use, and Framing of College Net Pricing Information

F. Chris Curran
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) School of Public Policy

Estimating the Effect of State Zero Tolerance Laws on Exclusionary Discipline, Racial Discipline Gaps, and Student Behavior

Daniel Hamlin
University of Oklahoma

Does School-Based Parental Involvement Improve School Safety? Determining Causal Effects From the School Survey on Crime and Safety

John Hansen
Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Estimating Bias in Weighted High School GPAs

Lacey A. Hartigan
EMT Associates, Inc.

General Education Development (GED) Recipients’ Life Course Experiences: Humanizing the Findings

Phoebe Ho
University of Pennsylvania

In Pursuit of the American Dream: Family Histories and Adolescent’s Educational Outcomes in Immigrant and Native Families

HyeJin Hwang
Florida State University, Florida Center for Reading Research

Do Knowledge and Motivation Matter? The Role of General Knowledge and Reading Motivation in Reading Achievement in the Elementary Years

Jeongeun Kim
Arizona State University

Explaining the Gender Gap: Are Departmental and Institutional Characteristics Linked to Labor Market Outcomes of STEM Graduates?

Kathleen Lynch
Brown University

Inequality in Children's Summer Experiences: 1999 to 2011

Anna J. Markowitz
University of Virginia

Teacher Turnover in Head Start: Trends, Correlates, and Consequences

Daniel Princiotta
Johns Hopkins University

The Great Graduation Rate Rise: District, State, and Federal Influences On U.S. High School Graduation Rate Trends From 1998-2010

Emily Rauscher
Brown University

Fair and Equal: School Funding and State-Level Racial Inequality of Educational Achievement

Guan Saw
The University of Texas at San Antonio

Opportunities and Outcomes of In- and Out-of-School STEM Learning

Kendra Taylor

New Directions for Integration Policy: Exploring Racial and Income Segregation at Multiple Geographic Scales in Large U.S. School Districts, 1990-2010

Jennifer D. Timmer
Vanderbilt University

Improving Math and Reading Outcomes for English Learners