The AERA Grants Program is the result of seven successive grants to the American Educational Research Association (AERA) from the National Science Foundation (NSF).*

The goals of the program are:

  1. to stimulate research on U.S. education issues using data from the large-scale, national and international data sets supported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), NSF, and other federal agencies, and
  2. to increase the number of education researchers using these data sets.

Since its start in 1990, the AERA Grants Program has supported, trained, and encouraged researchers from a variety of disciplines to conduct education policy- and practice-related research using quantitative methods with data from the rich, often longitudinal, data sets sponsored by NSF and NCES. To date the program has awarded more than 500 Small Grants** ($10,000-$35,000 each) and trained 475 researchers through the annual training institutes. More than 360 publications in well-respected, refereed journals (e.g., Educational Evaluation and Policy AnalysisSociology of EducationEconomics of Education ReviewAmerican Educational Research JournalResearch in Higher Education) have resulted directly from AERA Grants Program support. The reports, The AERA Research Grants Program: Key Findings of Selected Studies, highlight some of the grant-generated journal publications from the period 1995 to 2008. The program is governed by a well respected and highly qualified Governing Board. The AERA Grants Program has been extremely successful and has evolved into an important resource for researchers who conduct field-initiated, quantitative studies on education policy and practice issues.

In 2006-2007 the Governing Board convened a Think Tank on the issue of causal inference in education research, which culminated in the book, Estimating Causal Effects: Using Experimental and Observational Designs, by Barbara Schneider, Martin Carnoy, Jeremy Kilpatrick, William Schmidt, and Richard Shavelson.

Under the current NSF grant that began in 2009, the AERA Grants Program has expanded to include two new initiatives in addition to the ongoing work of small grants, training, and think tanks. The first initiative aims to facilitate the scientific use of the state longitudinal data systems (SLDS). Two Think Tank meetings will be convened with relevant stakeholders to address the barriers and opportunities for undertaking research using the SLDS. The end product will be consensus guidelines to enable quality science using the SLDS. This endeavor is undertaken in collaboration with the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) of the Urban Institute.

The second initiative seeks to promote the expanded use of data collected by NSF-funded studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and learning. This initiative will identify and support 6-8 PIs of NSF-funded studies in STEM education that include large-scale data collections with major scope and potential scientific yield. This initiative is undertaken in collaboration with the Inter-University Corsortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at University of Michigan. The data will be prepared and archived through ICPSR and made available to other researchers. A small grant competition will be held for projects using the newly released NSF data, followed by a conference for grantees.

*The AERA Grants Program has been supported by the following NSF grants: SPA-8955347, RED-9255347, REC-9452861, REC-9980573, REC-030268, DRL-0634035. These grant were also supported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the Institute of Education Sciences. The current NSF grant to support the AERA Grants Program is DRL-0941014, which is solely funded by NSF.

**Since 1990, 257 Research Grants have been awarded to university faculty and other doctoral-level researchers, and 271 Dissertation Grants have been awarded to advanced doctoral students.

Updated: March 1, 2014

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