Magnifying glass framing student writing


The virtual convening, Examining Education Research through the 2020 Lens, brought the SREE community together to reflect on what we know, what we need to know, and what we need to do as researchers to address both equity issues in education and the consequences of the pandemic. Through a series of sessions focused on the past, present and future, both researchers and individuals from the field examined how research can inform the decisions facing educators from pre-K through college, families, students, and communities. Sessions began February 22, 2021 and concludde March 5, 2021. They were scheduled over this two week period to allow attendees to more easily weave the conference sessions into their schedules.


Monday, February 22, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM EST

Hedges Lecture
Mobilizing Evidence to Reduce Educational Inequality: A Life-Course Perspective
Speaker: Stephen Raudenbush, University of Chicago
Introduction: Jessaca Spybrook, Western Michigan University

Inequality in educational outcomes as a function of social and racial/ethnic background is generated and reinforced over the course of childhood and adolescence through environmental experiences that occur at home and at school. The cumulative effects of these multiple influences will not plausibly be overcome by a list of unrelated interventions, no matter how effective each is by itself over the short term. It follows that any serious attempt to significantly increase opportunity for historically disadvantaged children and youth must engage the adults who are important in a child’s life to interact effectively with the child over the course of child and youth development. In this talk, I propose that how these adults mobilize, share, and use evidence can be crucial to this collaborative project. I will illustrate these ideas with three case studies in which timely information about heterogeneity in student skill becomes essential in guiding and evaluating instruction. These and related rigorously evaluated trials suggest that we can envision changes in school practice at the pre-school, elementary school, and secondary school levels that have potential to substantially increase students’ cognitive skills and sharply reduce racial/ethnic and social inequality.

Monday, February 22, 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM EST

Networking Session 1

Join colleagues and friends in the SREE community to say hello, discuss the Hedges lecture, and make connections. This event is open to all attendees. 

Wednesday, February 24, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST

Addressing the Challenges to Educational Research Posed by COVID-19 
Organizer: Elizabeth Tipton, Northwestern University
Speakers: Elizabeth Tipton and Larry Hedges, Northwestern University

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of our society, including the conduct of ongoing education research, especially randomized field trials. During this session, Elizabeth Tipton and Larry Hedges will discuss some possible responses to the disruption with an emphasis on those that may permit investigators to capitalize on work already done and investments already made. They discuss tradeoffs of strategies such as ways to maintain statistical power of designs that could be compromised or dealing with designs that may have lower power than was initially planned. They also consider more radical changes in focus such as focusing on intervention or instrument development, methodological studies, or the codification of craft knowledge.


Thursday, February 25, 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST

Supporting the Socioemotional Well-being of Students through Transitions
Organizer: Shanette Porter, Mindset Scholars Network
Moderator: John Easton, UChicago Consortium
Panelists: Laura Brady, University of MichiganMicere Keels, University of Chicago; and Constance Lindsay, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill; Ethan Scherer, Harvard University

The ongoing global public health and racial injustice pandemics are shaping the lives of a generation of students. The uncertainty of these times is adding layers of complexity to the regular transitions that students experience – for example, between schools, into new classrooms, from one grade to the next, or from one home setting to another. During this session, panelists will have an evidence-based discussion about how to support students’ socioemotional well-being through transitions, particularly during the current transformative crises. The discussion will take stock of the events and sociocultural context of 2020 and look forward to implications for supporting students. Panelists will bridge across disciplinary perspectives and address current questions in education policy and practice.


Friday, February 26, 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM EST

Confronting New and Persistent Equity Challenges: What Districts Need Now to Take Innovative Action 
Organizer: Nicole Beechum, UChicago Consortium
Moderator: Nicole Beechum, UChicago Consortium
Speakers: Tiffany Brunson, Field-Stevenson Intermediate School; Maurice Swinney, Chicago Public Schools; and Eric Moore, Minneapolis Public Schools

2020 laid bare the inequities facing our education system. The global coronavirus pandemic and renewed protests against racial injustice magnified the ongoing equity challenges present in school districts across the country. How leaders respond will leave a lasting impact, and there are renewed calls for district leaders to use evidence to drive policies and practices that center the needs of students furthest from opportunity. In this session, district leaders will share perspectives on how the challenges of the last year have changed the conversation about equity in education, what lies ahead, and how they are laying the groundwork for more equitable and responsive systems.

Monday, March 1, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

Operating Schools in a Pandemic: Research to Inform Difficult Tradeoffs
Organizer: Brian Gill, Mathematica and Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Lab
Speakers: Brian Gill, Mathematica and Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Lab; Dan Goldhaber, University of Washington and American Institutes of Research; Douglas Harris, Tulane University; and Meira Levinson, Harvard University

In a school year like no other, the operational practices of schools across the country have varied enormously from place to place and week to week, as they have tried to figure out how to best serve their students without putting students and staff at undue risk of contracting COVID-19. Many schools have operated entirely remotely since last spring to avoid spreading the virus; many others opened their buildings for full-time operation in September and have navigated quarantines of students and staff since then; still others have attempted an intermediate “hybrid” approach, with subsets of students in the school on some days and learning from home on other days. The stakes are high, not only because of the risks of the virus itself, but also because the absence of in-person instruction can lead to academic and social-emotional harms to children. Researchers have been working hard to produce evidence to inform the decisions that schools will have to consider for at least the next several months, even as vaccines are rolled out. Although the tradeoffs remain difficult ones, much has been learned over the past year about the spread of COVID-19 in schools, the extent to which different operational approaches matter, and the academic and social-emotional costs of keeping school buildings closed.

This webinar will feature a panel of researchers who have contributed to the evidence from various perspectives. Douglas Harris of Tulane University and Dan Goldhaber of the University of Washington and American Institutes for Research recently led independent studies examining the relationship between school operations and COVID-19 health outcomes. Brian Gill of Mathematica and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Lab led a simulation analysis to examine how hybrid approaches could be expected to affect in-school transmission of the virus. Meira Levinson has analyzed the ethical tradeoffs around school closures with respect to students, teachers, families, and communities. Collectively, their findings are helping educators and policymakers make better-informed decisions about school operations as the pandemic continues.

Tuesday, March 2, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM EST

The Future of Education Post COVID
Organizer: Erin Pollard, U.S. Department of Education
Moderator: Carrie Scholz, REL Midwest
Panelists: Meg Caven, REL Northeast and Islands; Nicole Patton-Terry, REL Southeast; Francie Streich, REL Midwest

Representatives of the Regional Education Laboratories will share information on their current projects related to learning loss and the future of education, then have a moderated discussion of the future of education and research opportunities.


Wednesday, March 3, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM EST

Evidence-based Ideas to Improve Schooling during Pandemic Times and Beyond
Organizer: Matthew Kraft, Brown University
Moderator: Cara Jackson, Bellwether Education Partners
Panelists: Justin Reich, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Jonathan Collins, Matthew Kraft, and Jayanti Owns, Brown University

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced teachers, schools, and districts to make rapid changes to long-held educational norms. This panel will discuss big ideas, and the evidence behind them, for remaking education to better serve all students, particularly those most adversely affected by the current crisis. We will discuss why schools should not return to the status quo and what would be required to make them sites of more equitable opportunities and outcomes.


Wednesday, March 3, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM EST

The Pandemic and What School Districts Want to Know: A Conversation with District Research Directors
Organizer: Michael Strambler, Yale University
Panelists: Norma Ming, San Francisco Unified School District; Beth Vaade, Madison Metropolitan School District; Marco Andrade, Providence Public Schools
Moderator:  Michael Strambler, Yale University

This moderated discussion will consist of a panel of school district administrators responsible for directing research. The conversation will center on the following questions regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their district: What, if any, research have districts conducted around the pandemic? What existing research has informed their decision-making and practice? What other pandemic-related research would be most informative for serving their districts?


Thursday, March 4, 1:45 PM - 2:30 PM EST

Directions in Education Philanthropy
Organizer: Bethany Miller, Ascendium
Speakers: Celine Coggins, Grantmakers for Education; Bronwyn Bevan, Wallace Foundation; Chase Sackett & Erin Crossett, Arnold Ventures; Carly Roberts & Laurie Sztejnberg, Overdeck Family Foundation

The events of 2020—ranging from the pandemic to renewed calls for racial justice—have resulted in unprecedented changes in education, from PreK to college. Grantmakers for Education (GFE) conducted a survey of the philanthropic community to determine how these events are shaping their funding priorities. After GFE Executive Director Celine Coggins reports on the results of that survey, participants will choose a breakout room to delve deeper into particular segment of the education pipeline with foundation program officers.


Friday, March 5, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM EST

Testing the Effectiveness of Strategies to Promote Research Use: Learning from Studies in Education and Mental Health Settings  
Organizer: Ruth Neild, Mathematica
Speakers: Kimberly Becker, University of South Carolina; Bruce Chorpita, University of California - Los Angeles; Aubyn Stahmer, University of California - Davis
Discussant: Adam Gamoran, William T. Grant Foundation

Watch the Recording

Join us for this second webinar in a series focused on the use of research evidence in education. During this moderated discussion, two research teams will describe their studies that rigorously test the effectiveness of strategies for promoting research use in mental health and education settings.

Sponsor: William T. Grant Foundation


Friday, March 5, 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM EST

Networking Session 2

As we wrap-up the two week virtual convening, join colleagues and friends in the SREE community to discuss what you have heard, questions you have, and make connections. This event is open to all attendees.