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Sarah Lubienski and Joseph Robinson teach AERA Statistical Institute

by The College of Education / May 25, 2012

Sarah Lubienski, professor in Curriculum and Instruction, and Joseph Robinson, assistant professor in Educational Psychology, taught a three-day AERA Statistical Institute on May 16-18, 2012, in Washington, D.C. The AERA Grants Governing Board sponsored the program, "Mathematics Education and Equity," with funding from the National Science Foundation.

Lubienski, who is the director of this year's AERA institute and a member of the Grants Governing Board, led discussions on the overall topic, equity in math education, while Robinson led discussions on methods used to analyze large-scale data sets. Institute leaders then guided the 30 participants (selected from 160 applicants) as they designed their own analyses.

Lubienski and Robinson were joined by three experts from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) who offered advice on the most recent large-scale data sets available. Colleen Ganley and Casey George-Jackson, two IES fellows from Illinois’ Postdoctoral Program in Mathematics Education, served as instructional assistants. (Article continues below photos...)


View photos on the College of Education Flickr.

"The participants appreciated this rare opportunity for scholars from mathematics education, statistics, and other fields to come together and learn about cutting-edge data sets and research methods, as well as to learn about each other's areas of expertise," Lubienski said. “This institute has laid the groundwork for valuable future collaborations focusing on equity in mathematics teaching and learning.”

One participant supplied this feedback about the institute, "I wanted to thank you and your team for running such a great institute. It was really one of the most enjoyable and helpful experiences I have had yet," the participant wrote. "I also wanted to say thanks for taking the time to answer so many of my questions. It's always nice to hear different people's stories and perspectives."

The institute's goal is to build the capacity of the U.S. education research community to use large-scale national and international data sets such as those from the NCES, NSF, and other federal agencies for basic, policy, and applied research. Hands-on training is provided in the application of large-scale data sets, with special emphasis on using these data sets for policy-related research in education.

The AERA Statistical Institute focuses on a different theme each year. This year, topics included students’ opportunities to learn specific mathematical content, access to high-quality mathematics teachers, students’ course-taking and career plans, as well as students’ mathematics achievement, beliefs, and attitudes. Patterns related to social class, race/ethnicity, language, gender, and disability were also considered.

This year's statistical institute fits well with recent research by both Lubienski and Robinson, which focuses on gender equity in math education.