2021 Sections


Early Childhood Education
Chair: Dale Farran, Vanderbilt University

The Early Childhood Education section encourages submissions that examine effects of promising education interventions and policies prior to Kindergarten, particularly at scale, and their carryover into subsequent developmental periods. This section is particularly interested in evidence demonstrating the types of academic and social/emotional knowledge that are important in early childhood, including number sense, spatial reasoning, early reading, and attention skills. Additionally, this section is interested in how learning in these areas relates to other cognitive and social developments, including support for later academic outcomes.

Postsecondary Education
Chair: Francisco (Paco) Martorell, University of California - Davis

The section on Postsecondary Education invites submissions examining policies, programs, and practices designed to improve students’ access to, transitions into, and completion of postsecondary education. Studies of innovative reforms around equity, classroom experience (pedagogy or curriculum), student support services (e.g., counseling, advising, tutoring, mentoring), financing college, out-of-school activities, remediation, dual enrollment, non traditional students, student mindset, pathways, academic momentum, and career and technical education are all encouraged. Studies that describe collaborations among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers or studies that explicate transitions and facilitate effective and scalable action are welcome.

Education in Global Contexts
Chair: Gianluca ArgentinUniversity of Milan - Bicocca 

The section on Education in Global Contexts encourages submissions that explore the effectiveness of education interventions at all levels, including early childhood, primary, secondary, vocational/technical, and post-secondary education either: (a) in non-U.S. contexts or (b) with a focus on generalizability across multiple national contexts or in a global context. In the global arena, studies situated in (and/or originating from) low- and middle-income countries, as well as high-income countries other than the United States, are of particular interest. We encourage the submission of symposia and panels that pair findings from domestic and international settings as well as symposia that deliver cross-contextual lessons. Special consideration will be given to submissions that highlight the practical significance of the work and how it can inform real-time decisions in non-U.S. contexts in light of the complex demands for evidence and the implicit tensions and tradeoffs that exist in non-U.S. contexts.

Academic Learning in Education Settings 
Chair: Jason Snipes, WestEd

The Academic Learning in Education Settings section invites proposals that examine types of instructional approaches that influence K-12 education trajectories. This section includes investigations focused on the development, implementation, and efficacy of classroom practices, as well as evaluations of specific interventions or programs. We welcome research examining instruction and instructional outcomes across content areas, including literacy, STEM, and social sciences. Results from studies or research syntheses focused on low-achieving or atypically-developing children are encouraged as a means of assessing strategies for improving academic learning from Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Social and Emotional Learning in Educational Settings
Chair: Laura Hamilton, Educational Testing Service

The section on Social and Emotional Learning in Educational Settings encourages submissions that advance knowledge of environments, schools, classrooms, teachers, and interventions that promote social and emotional development and well-being, and shape academic, social, and health outcomes from preschool through adulthood. Studies may target a wide variety of social and emotional student and teacher factors, including mindsets, beliefs, attitudes, attributions, skills, and behaviors. Proposals that expand the discourse on social and emotional development to include the role of structures and public policy are encouraged.

Teachers and School Leaders
Chair: David Blazar, University of Maryland - College Park

The section on Teachers and School Leaders seeks submissions exploring policies, programs, and practices related to supporting teacher and school leader effectiveness across a range of contexts. We encourage proposals that examine all phases of educators’ careers, including preparation, hiring, development, evaluation, and retention, as well as studies focused on measuring teacher and leader effectiveness. Such practices may include recruitment and screening procedures, incentive policies, preparation programs, staff evaluations, professional learning models, work culture, and innovative strategies to retain and promote effective staff, among others. Outcomes of interest include teachers’ and leaders’ attitudes, beliefs, mindsets, and identities; knowledge about content, pedagogy, and development; teaching, coaching, and leadership skills in practice; and impact on other staff and students.

Organization of Schools and Systems
Chair: Elaine Allensworth, UChicago Consortium

The Organization of Schools and Systems section encourages submissions that use rigorous research designs and analytic techniques to examine how schools, school systems, and other support systems can improve student outcomes. This section includes investigations focused on teacher collaboration, school and district leadership, improvement science, community and family engagement, school partnership approaches, charter school models, school turnaround, and other system-level educational reforms or interventions. We encourage proposals that focus especially on how the findings can be used to inform policy-makers and practitioners in real time.

Use of Research Evidence across Settings
Chair: Kimberly DuMont, American Institutes for Research

The section on the Use of Research Evidence across Settings encourages submissions that rigorously examine the practices and conditions influencing how policymakers, practitioners, and other decision-makers utilize research evidence in education or in other contexts. Methods may include qualitative and/or quantitative analyses. Research evidence here is construed as any evidence resulting from systematic inquiry, whether conducted by traditional research organizations, in partnership, or in other venues. Outcomes of interest may address the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for using research evidence, the nature of evidence use, or the consequences of using research evidence. We are especially interested in proposals that evaluate how effectively the use of research evidence leads to impact on policy and practice.

Research Methods

Chair: D. Betsy McCoach, University of Connecticut

The Research Methods section encourages submissions that advance methods directly addressing issues in education contexts and/or disseminate the application of state-of-the-art quantitative methods. This section prioritizes work that is strongly and explicitly situated in real-world education research concerns or examples. Submitted proposals should be presented clearly and without unnecessary complexity. They should clearly articulate the benefits and trade-offs of the proposed methods as compared to current practice.


Please note that an abstract with an education policy focus should be submitted under the content area with which it most aligns.