Education professors lead important AERA Institute on Statistical Analysis for Education Policy

by the College of Education at Illinois   /   May 27, 2016

AERA Institute on Statistical Analysis for Education Policy

Left to right: Sarah Lubienski, Jennifer Timmer, Emily Miller, Martha Makowski, Joe Robinson-Cimpian, and Colleen Ganley 

Several scholars affiliated with College join Sarah Lubienski and Joseph Robinson-Cimpian in Washington, D.C.

For the third time in four years, Education at Illinois professors Sarah Lubienski and Joseph Robinson-Cimpian traveled to Washington, D.C., to lead the May 10-13 AERA Institute on Statistical Analysis for Education Policy, which works toward building the capacity of the U.S. education research community to use large-scale national and international data sets such as those from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Lubienski, a professor in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and the director of the institute, said AERA received approximately 400 applications for 30 available slots. When leading the institute she and Robinson-Cimpian focused on mathematics education research, with the goals of enhancing research on equity and policy, making appropriate causal inferences, and using NCES datasets.

This year’s theme was “Using Large-Scale Data to Study Mathematics Education and Outcomes.” As a member of the AERA Grants Governing Board, Lubienski helped select the applicants.

“Joe and I agreed that this group of participants was outstanding,” she said. “By the end of the week, the participants had dug into the NCES datasets, conducted their own insightful analyses, and gave engaging presentations for their work. It was also a wonderful opportunity for our doctoral students and postdoctoral fellow to help us lead the institute.”

"It was a wonderful opportunity for our doctoral students and postdoctoral fellow to help us lead the institute."
           - Professor Sarah Lubienski

Martha Makowski, a doctoral student in Curriculum & Instruction, and Jennifer Timmer, a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Psychology, joined Lubienski and Robinson-Cimpian in Washington, D.C.

Colleen Ganley and Emily Miller were also part of the contingent of College of Education scholars during the three-day event. Ganley was a postdoctoral fellow at Illinois from 2011 to 2013 and is now a faculty member in psychology at Florida State University. Miller joined the Illinois Postdoctoral Program in Mathematics Education Research in 2015 and has worked with Lubienski and Robinson-Cimpian on studies of mathematics instruction, reform, and equity using national datasets, including the 1998-99 and 2010-11 cohorts of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K), as well as the High School Longitudinal Study.

According to the AERA website, this year’s institute provided a discussion of current issues in mathematics education policy, practice, and equity; offered an overview of quasi-experimental methods appropriate to the analysis of large-scale data; and provided opportunities to collaborate with peers on the application of federal data sets to the focal topic.

Sarah LubienskiLubienski presented three lectures that covered the historical elements of U.S. mathematics education, achievement, and equity. She also talked about her own decisions, discoveries, and detours in the field of mathematics education research and how to sensibly and sensitively report group differences.

Robinson-Cimpian, an associate professor in Educational Psychology, gave lectures during the event on causal inference and propensity score matching. George Wimberly, AERA’s director of Professional Development, Elise Christopher of the National Center for Education Statistics, and Ganley also presented.

Lubienski said the intensive experience helps shape the next generation of education researchers.

“It is an honor for us and for our College to lead the AERA institute,” she said.


Learn more about the annual AERA Institute on Statistical Analysis for Education Policy.