AERA-NSF Grants Program Holds Fall Research Conference
AERA-NSF Grants Program Holds Fall Research Conference

November 2019

James “Lynn” Woodworth (NCES)

The AERA Grants Program, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), held its Fall Research Conference on October 31–November 2 in the newly opened AERA Convening Center in Washington, D.C. This annual conference brought together the new cohort of dissertation and early career awardees and scholars who recently completed research funded by the program, as well as members of the program’s Governing Board, federal agency representatives, and other senior scholars and research experts in large-scale data analysis.

The conference attendees heard from federal agency leaders about research and funding priorities and participated in professional development and training activities, led by senior scholars, on advancing research and analyzing data from large-scale federal and state data sets. Research presentations from awardees funded by the program were a featured part of the conference activities.

Finbarr “Barry” Sloan (NSF) and Elizabeth Albro (IES) 

The NSF has funded the AERA Grants Program since 1990 through eight consecutive awards. This has led to the support of over 500 graduate students and early career scholars as they have launched their careers and developed their research agendas in STEM education research. The AERA-NSF Grants Program supports studies that use large-scale federal and federally funded data sets. The program includes national and international data sets and administrative data such as State Longitudinal Data systems made possible through federal support.

James “Lynn” Woodworth, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), spoke at the conference, providing an overview of NCES programs and innovations. He discussed data resources such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), as well as longitudinal surveys including the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study and the High School Longitudinal Study. He encouraged all attendees to develop and consider research questions in STEM using these data. Woodworth also referenced the forthcoming NAEP process data that will be available for analysis.

Laura Perna (University of Pennsylvania) and Barbara
Schneider (Michigan State University)

Obtaining federal funding for future research was also a key discussion topic. Elizabeth Albro, commissioner of education research at the Institute of Education Sciences’ National Center for Education Research, and Finbarr “Barry” Sloan, program director, Division of Research on Learning at NSF, discussed how these two federal research agencies are supporting research in STEM education and learning. They both discussed how research funding from the federal agencies can help support scholars’ research at beginning career stages and as the scholars further develop their research programs.

The conference included a sequence of professional development sessions that were led by senior scholars. AERA-NSF Grants Board member Larry Hedges (Northwestern University) opened the conference with an engaging presentation on accessing and using large-scale administrative data and other big data. He discussed some of the promises and pitfalls of obtaining these data and preparing them for analysis. Governing Board members Laura Perna (University of Pennsylvania) and Barbara Schneider (Michigan State University) each discussed the advantages of using longitudinal data sets throughout the life course in research studies to enhance understanding of schooling outcomes. In an interactive session, Kenneth Frank (Michigan State University) addressed causal inference with hands-on examples from some of the grantees’ research.

Patricia Alexander (University of Maryland)

The training elements of the conference also included a session on publishing research in peer-reviewed journals, led by Patricia Alexander (University of Maryland). Steven A. Culpepper (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), the incoming editor of the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, participated in a panel discussion on how graduate students can make the transition to being faculty members.

“The AERA-NSF Grants Program is an excellent training ground for the next generation of researchers who are using large-scale education data for scientific research,” said Schneider, who is chair of the program’s Governing Board. “The program has a long and substantial history of launching the careers of new scholars and acting as a catalyst for creating new knowledge.”

Steven Culpepper (University of Illinois Urbana
Champaign), Krystal Williams (University of Alabama),
and Adela Soliz (Vanderbilt University)

AERA-NSF Grants Program grantees will present their research in a poster session during the 2020 AERA Annual Meeting, in San Francisco. For more information about the Grants Program, visit the AERA website. The tables that follow list the dissertation and research grant recipients who have commenced their awards in 2019.




Table 1. New AERA Grants Program Dissertation Grantees’ Funded Projects

Dissertation Grantee and Institution

Dissertation Title

Roland Tyler Ames, Johns Hopkins University

Moving Beyond Career and Technical Education as a Monolith: Outcomes of Equality, Dropout, and College.

Briana Ballis, University of California, Davis

How Does Special Education Impact Student Outcomes?

Jennifer Darling-Aduana, Vanderbilt University

Disparate Educational Opportunity Through Differential Students’ Access to Online Courses: Implications for Educational Equity and the Future of Learning

Gina DelCorazon, Princeton University

Individual and Contextual Factors Influencing Pursuit of and Persistence in Teaching Careers: A Longitudinal Approach to Studying the Teacher Workforce in Texas

Benjamin Elbers, Columbia University

The Reproduction of Racial Segregation in U.S. Schools

Hee Jung Gong, University of Georgia

The Iron Triangle of College Admission: The Impact of Early Admission Policies on Organizational Outcomes at Four-Year Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

Kathryn Gonzalez, Harvard University

Improving Classroom Quality in Center-Based Preschool Programs: The Effects of State Quality Standards on Classroom Quality in Head Start

Erica Harbatkin, Vanderbilt University

An Early Warning System for Low-Performing Schools: Developing a Multidimensional Measure of Risk

Hana Kang, Michigan State University

High School Course-Taking and Enrollment in STEM Majors: A Holistic Picture of the “Golden Combination” of Mathematics and Science Courses

Jacob Kepins, University of California, Irvine

School Poverty and the Frog Pond: Examining the Absolute and Relative Effects of School Poverty on College Applications

Jacob Kirksey, University of California, Santa Barbara

From Court to Classroom: The Extent of Unexpected Consequences of Deportation Proceedings on Science, Math, and Reading Achievement for Elementary Students From 1998 to 2016

Christopher Klager, Michigan State University

The Impact of Advanced High School Science Coursework on Postsecondary STEM Outcomes

Whitney Kozakowski, Harvard University

A Better Path to Opportunity? The Value of Access to Public Four-Year Colleges

JoonHo Lee, University of California, Berkeley

The Distributional Effects of California’s School Finance Reform on Organizational Properties of Schools and Student Achievement

Luronne Vaval, Columbia University

Is It as Straightforward as It Seems? Examining the STEM Pipeline and Persistence to the STEM Workforce Among High School Students

Takeshi Yanagiura, Columbia University

Should Free College Policies Require Academic Achievement? Effects of Credit Hour Requirement for Eligibility Renewal on Degree Attainment for Low-Income Students


Table 2. New AERA Grants Program Research Grantees’ Funded Projects

Research Grantee and Institution

Project Title

Dominique Baker, Southern Methodist University

Excess in Texas: An Investigation of the Effect of State Policies Concerning Excess Credit Hours on Student Success

David Blazar, University of Maryland, College Park

Long-Term Effect of Teachers on Students’ Academic and Non-Academic Skill Formation: Evidence From Longitudinal Education and Workforce Data in Maryland

William Boland, Baruch College–The City University of New York

Minority STEM Serving Institutions? Evaluating the Effect of MSI Grant-Funded Programs on STEM Degree Completion

Bryan Hutchins, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

STEM Preparation Experiences of Non-College-Bound Youth

Marisol Kevelson, Educational Testing Service

The Relationship Between Test Item Format and Racial or Income Achievement Gaps on Math and Reading Tests in Grades 4 and 8

Natalie Koziol, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Advancing Measurement of Spanish-Speaking Students’ Mathematics Achievement: A Novel Approach for Controlling Selection Bias in Evaluations of DIF

Latisha Ross, University of Virginia

Math and Science Identity, Engagement, and Performance: The Influence of Parent and Peer Academic Socialization Within Context of Schools

Adela Soliz, Vanderbilt University

How Has Funding From the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Affected the Quality and Student Composition of Vocational Programs at Community Colleges?

George Spencer, University of Georgia

Determinants of Dual Enrollment Access: A National Examination of Institutional Context and State Policies

Joshua Sussman, University of California, Berkeley

Modeling and Explaining the Emergence of Achievement Gaps in Kindergarten Readiness: Early Literacy Gaps Between Dual Language Learners and Their English Monolingual Peers

Krystal L. Williams, University of Alabama

Pathways Into STEM: An Exploration of Math-Related Strain, Math Supports and High School Math Achievement With Implications for Policy and Practice

Alexander Wiseman, Texas Tech University

The Impact of STEM Teacher Preparation and Professional Development on Im/Migrant and Humanitarian Migrant Youth Outcomes

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