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Special AERA; Invited Presidential Session

Special AERA Edition


AERA The Power of Education Research for Innovation in Policy and Practice

April 11, 2014 – SOE faculty and students presented their research, participated in roundtable discussions, and led various scholarly presentations from April 3-7, 2014 at the American Educational Research Association in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

They enjoyed fellowship with one another and colleagues from around the world.

For more info information on a specific topic, visit AERA's website: Conference website:

Congrats to all the presenters that represented Virginia Tech and the SOE at AERA!

Invited Presidential Session~Way to go Min Sun!!!

Session Title: Analysis of Social Networks of Educators: Empirical Findings, Practical Applications, New Directions, and Theoretical Issues

Paper: What We Know About Teacher and Administrator Networks: Replicated Findings and Recent Extensions

Abstract: Review replicated findings concerning how educators are influenced by network members and how they select with whom to interact. Look ahead to new directions in network analysis including two-mode network data (e.g., students and the courses they take), dynamic network processes and agent based simulations to study the emergence of network properties.

Poster Sessions

Poster: Examination of Differences in Science Professional Development Delivery of the Engineering Design Process

Presenters: Tyler Scott Love, Michael Grubbs (doc students)


Tyler Presenters: Tyler Scott Love, Michael Grubbs (doc students)

Increased calls for experiential learning, alongside current STEM Education reform, has afforded design as a viable pedagogical approach for teaching students science content. Science education has increasingly shown interest in design through design-based teaching methods and the NGSS. This inclusion has come with concerns from the engineering community on the ability of non-engineering educators to effectively teach engineering design (ED). To determine differences in ability of teaching ED a study was conducted across a multi-site science professional development. This paper reports preliminary findings on how PD delivered by engineering educators vs. science educators influence teachers' delivery of the EDP differently. Findings will suggest whether teachers' delivery of engineering content differ when taught by engineering experts vs. science experts.

Poster: Leveraging Learning Games Data to Support Decision Making in the Mathematics Classroom

Presenters: David Hicks

Middle school mathematics education is subject to on-going reform based on advances in instructional technology, leading to calls for investment in learning games. Issues pertinent to the discussion revolve around potential device-based data collection opportunities available in these dynamic, innovative learning environments. Through our co-design efforts, we identified priority areas for data collection: personalized feedback, student assessment, and deeper learning. With these priority areas in mind, we demonstrate how [The Math App], which focuses on fractional knowledge, could be harnessed to support classroom decision-making. Results from two years of implementation and iterative refinement suggest that [The Math App] could improve instruction and learning by leveraging noted features. We highlight how these features address requirements to promote classroom-based evidence-supported decision-making.

Poster: Leveling the Playing Field: Using Development Research to Create an E-Portfolio Implementation Framework for Educators

Presenter: Jen Brill

This development research project investigated the perspectives of faculty and administrators regarding their experiences of a university-wide electronic portfolio implementation initiative. Participants were fifty-two faculty and administrators at a large research university in the United States who were either continued users or abandoners of electronic portfolios. Survey and interview data were used to understand the electronic portfolio implementation process, including enablers and barriers to adoption of this instructional technology. Study findings and Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory informed the building of a six-component implementation framework that is under review by two external systemic change experts for refinement. The final framework, to be presented at this session, can be used by educational institutions to support the successful adoption of electronic portfolios.

Paper Sessions

Paper: A Qualitative Exploratory Study of Social Identity Shifts for Female Principals of Color

Presenter: Carol Mullen

Abstract: This study explores how African American female principals understand their social identity and navigate political dynamics of gender and race. Persisting issues in education include inequities governing the need for Black female leaders to shift their identities in particular ways to conform in the workplace. Critical innovation is at the root of learning how these leaders construct their social identities to deal with stereotypes that disrupt their identity development and core values. Seeking to learn how women of color try to fit their respective roles relative to stakeholders, we offer insight into how principals manage and shift their social identities to garner the effects they are seeking. Leadership preparation programs should equip prospective administrators with the relevant knowledge and skills.

New Scholarly Book by Carol Mullen


Mullen_book Shifting to Fit: The Politics of Black and White Identity in School Leadership, by Carol A. Mullen & Kim C. Robertson, Information Age Publishing, 2014

Summary: While social identity challenges probably confront all school administrators, the authors focus on a doubly marginalized leadership population—Black female principals—whose experiences are rarely tapped. Based on lessons from this study and the literature reviewed, the authors think that leadership preparation programs should give prospective administrators opportunities to gain knowledge and develop skills relevant to navigating their leadership identities

Paper: Leader-Member Exchange, Cognitive Style, and Student Achievement: A Mixed-Methods Case Study

Presenters: Thomas Broyles, Eric Kaufman

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to explain how the quality of teacher-student relationships and the gap of cognitive styles between teachers and students impact student achievement as demonstrated by student scores on a standardized end of course test. The population for the study was comprised of 11 career and technical education (CTE) teachers and 210 CTE students, representing six disciplines within CTE. Leader-member Exchange (LMX) theory and Adaption-innovation theory guided the research. Quantitative and qualitative data identify precursors of high quality teacher-student relationships and the associated effects on student achievement. Further research is recommended to understand how leader-member exchange manifests in classroom settings and impacts student achievement.

Paper: Sure, Sources, but Then What? Historical "Practices" and the Development of the Protocol for Assessing the Teaching of History

Presenter: David Hicks

Abstract: This paper provides an overview of the six dimensions of a discipline-specific classroom observation instrument (the Protocol for Assessing the Teaching of History (PATH)) and explores particular challenges and questions surrounding the construction of and observational coding of the dimension entitled "historical practices."

Paper: Effect of Schools' Failure to Make Adequate Yearly Progress on Teacher Turnover

Presenter: Min Sun

Abstract: Drawing data from the 2007-08 SASS and its TFS, this is one of the first few studies that use a nationally representative sample to examine the impact of schools' failure to make AYP on teacher turnover in the following year. It uses propensity score matching to identify a control group of schools that had similar propensities to fail AYP given school demographics, geographical locations, and other contextual factors, but actually made AYP at the end of 2006-07 school year. The estimation models on this matched sample indicate that teachers in failed-AYP schools had an average higher likelihood of moving to other schools, while schools' AYP status did not differentially.

Paper: Beyond Classical Cognitivism and Behaviorism: Wittgenstein and Dewey Revisited

Presenter: Jim Garrison

Abstract: The cognitive revolution in psychology is long over. It has become the new educational establishment. The revolution began as a rebellion against behaviorism. Many consider Chomsky's 1959 review of Skinner's Verbal Behavior as the Bunker Hill of the cognitive revolution. However, a great deal of human learning involves classical Pavlovian and Skinnerian conditioning, which has, for instance, been especially successful in the treatment of autism. For decades, philosophers of education have ignored behaviorism. Surprising, however, two of the major western philosophers of the last century were behaviorists that did important work on the philosophy of language. Reflecting on the many similarities between Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Dewey will allow us to get beyond classical cognitivism and behaviorism.

Paper: Cross-Validating the Academic Self-Regulation Scale

Presenter: Parastou Mokri

Abstract: Academic self-regulation is highly prized by most educators for epitomizing the ideal of independent, self-motivated learning. This study is a cross cultural comparison of this ideal of self sufficient learning between university students in Egypt and the US. Students in both countries were administered the Academic Self-Regulation Scale (ASRS) in their native languages. Both administrations indicated that the ASRS was a reliable and valid measure. It appears that significant differences exist between the two nationalities in terms of students' perceived control, their goal setting, their monitoring, and the ways that they approached their learning environments. The results are discussed in relation to implications for fostering deeper understanding of academic self-regulation.


Symposium: Through Paulo's Eyes: Critical Reflections on Research

Paper: Collaborative Transnational Research: (De)Constructed Immigration Stories

Presenter: Kris Tilley-Lubbs

Abstract: I examine immigration/emigration through perspectives of Mexican women in Virginia and their families in Mexico. Hearing immigration stories made me curious about stories their Mexican families might tell. I visited their Mexican homes to interview their families using questions generated by the women. I learned how the family in Mexico talked about the women's emigration, how the women in Virginia expected their families to answer the questions, and how both stories compared with each other.


Kris Kris Tilly-Lubbs enjoying some time at the AERA book exhibit with Shirley Steinberg's new book (Photo: Carol Mullen)

Symposium: Race, Masculinity, and the Pursuit of Academic Excellence: Educating Gifted Black Males

Paper: School Context, Precollege Educational Opportunities, and College Degree Attainment Among High-Achieving Black Males

Presenter: Valija Rose

Abstract: Access to high-quality educational opportunities is central to growing postsecondary degree attainment. However nearly sixty years after the Brown v. Board (1954) decision, access to high-quality educational opportunities remains an elusive dream for many students—including Black males who are underrepresented in gifted and talented programs and Advanced Placement (AP; College Board 2012; Holzman, 2006; Moore & Flowers, 2012). The purpose of this study was to examine how school context and precollege educational opportunities influence college degree attainment among high-achieving Black males.

Symposium: Separation of School and (Corporate) State? Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Love, Justice, and Education

Paper: Thinking About Love, Justice, and Education Through John Dewey and Others on Similar Pathways: Toward Social and Educational Improvement Through Eros, Love, and Reverence

Presenter: Jim Garrison


Symposium: Transcendence and Education

Paper: Some Pragmatic Preferences for Educational Transcendence

Presenter: Jim Garrison

Abstract: Pragmatism is a philosophical family and as in any family there are disagreements. What follows is one version of pragmatic transcendence expressed as the preferences of a family member.

Roundtable Discussions

Theme: Select Topics in Middle School Science Education

Paper: Elements of Design-Based Science Teaching That Affect Middle School Students' Motivation

Presenters: Brett Jones, Sehmuz Akalin, Asta B. Schram, Jonathan Fink, Jessica Chittum, Michael Evans

Abstract: The primary purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which an afterschool science program affected middle school students' motivation to engage in science activities. We used current motivation theory and research as a framework to assess 14 students' motivation through interviews and observations. Our analysis revealed examples of how science instruction can motivate middle school students in science. For example, we documented that activities were opportunities to empower students by giving them choices. Further, presentations were opportunities that could either motivate students by interesting them and showing them the usefulness of the topics, or de-motivate students by boring them. We believe that understanding these motivating opportunities can help educators better connect motivation theory and science instruction.


Jessica_and_Brett AERA presenters Jessica Chittum & Brett Jones

Theme: Urban Secondary Student Cultural Capital, Socioeconomic Status, Preparedness, and Career Goals

Paper: High School Student Preparedness for College and Career Goals

Presenters: Cheryl Carrico, Holly Matusovich, Marie Paretti

Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative study is to present factors that influenced high school student's knowledge and influence of choosing, applying for, and expectations of college, referred to as Student Preparedness. High School students planning to attend college, and/or who have intended career choices that require college, have different amounts of knowledge (preparedness) about how to achieve their intended career choices. Preparedness was evaluated against several other salient factors and patterns emerged relative to parental experience and school resources. Outcomes from this research include 1) operationalizing student preparedness using a combination of factors other than academic achievement, 2) the importance of knowing the parental education level and occupation, 3) the importance of college outreach within high schools.

Theme: Science Education in Higher Ed

Paper: Supporting Student Interest and Domain Identification in Science Majors: Faculty Perceptions of First-Year College Students' Domain Identification and Interest Development

Presenters: Brett Jones and Chloe Ruff


Brett_and_Chloe AERA presenters Brett Jones and Chloe Ruff

Theme: Large-Scale Database Research in the Content Areas

Paper: Math Achievement in High School: Effects of Teacher Support, Instructional Practice, and Students' Motivational Beliefs

Presenters: Rongrong Yu and Kusum Singh

Emerging Scholars Workshop

About the Workshop: This year I attended AERA for the first time and was selected to participate in its Division J Emerging Scholars Workshop, a pre-conference workshop that provides professional development for doctoral students and junior faculty members. The workshop included discussions about pursuing careers as tenure-track faculty members and administrators. Among a variety of topics, we discussed the hiring process and the different types of institutions. I was able to discuss different career paths with university professionals who have experience in these types of positions. As a PhD student I found this portion of the workshop extremely valuable since I often think about career options, but do not always know professionals in these positions. The workshop taught me additional strategies to follow in the next two years of my program that will help prepare me for the job market and gave me the opportunity to continue building a network of higher education scholars.

Attendee: Elsa Camargo Her research interests include career advancement of underrepresented faculty, faculty tenure and promotion, and faculty perceptions of institutional climate.


Elsa_and_Claire Elsa Camargo and Claire Robbins at AERA 2014

Chairs, Discussants, & Instructors

Demonstration Performance: Uncovering the Science Genius of the Hip-Hop Generation

Discussant: Jocelyn Wilson

About: The presentation is based on a competition across New York City Public Schools that challenged students to write raps based on science topics they were learning in school. The culminating event was a science rap competition (Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S.) where students competed against each other for the title of the NYC Science Genius. B.A.T.T.L.E.S. is an acronym that stands for Bringing Attention to Transforming Teaching, Learning, and Engagement in Science, but also is the word from rap competitions in urban neighborhoods. Students will perform science raps at AERA

Creating Socially Just Learning Environments Through Educational Leadership Programs

Chairs and Discussants: Carol Mullen

Assessment and Evaluation of Educational Leadership Programs

Chairs and Discussants: Carol Mullen

Empowering the Romà Through Dialogic Research: Contributions From Paulo Freire, Ramón Flecha, and Jesus Gómez's Friendship to Social Inclusion

Chairs and Discussants: Kris Tilly-Lubbs

Sensitivity Analysis: Quantifying the Discourse About Causal Inference (Professional Development Course)

Instructor: Min Sun

About: Participants will learn how to quantify concerns about causal inferences due to unobserved variables or populations. Participants will learn how to calculate the correlations associated with an unobserved confounding variable or the amount of one's sample that would have to be replaced to invalidate an inference. I will also present a general framework for characterizing the robustness of inferences from randomized experiments or observational studies. Calculations for bivariate and multivariate analysis will be presented in SPSS, SAS, and Stata, with an excel spreadsheet for other applications. Additional topics include a typology of thresholds for making inferences, null hypotheses of non-zero effects, evaluating thresholds relative to characteristics of observed variables or populations, and extensions to non-linear models. The format will be a mixture of presentation, individual exploration, and group work. Participants may include graduate students and professors, although all must be comfortable with basic regression and multiple regression. Participants should bring their own laptop, or be willing to work with another student who has a laptop. Participants may choose to bring to the course an example of an inference from a published study or their own work, as well as data analyses they are currently conducting.

Misc Stuff


Gary_and_Sue Gary Skaggs and Sue Magliaro enjoying the triennial travesties of 2014 AERA (Photo: Carol Mullen)


RedDoor On Freedom's Shore at the Red Door with dear friends Carol Mullen, SOE Director (top); Michele Acker-Hocevar, WSU (left), & Deb Touchton, Stetson University (right) (all former presidents of associations in educational leadership)


LibertyBellExhibit Carol Mullen enjoying a moment at the Liberty Bell Exhibit