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AERA journal examines research issues

Washington, April 12, 2010Important new findings and new research directions are the hallmarks of the March issue of Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Educational Research Association. This issue is marked by a breadth of topics, data that debunk conventional wisdom, and articles likely to reframe future research.

  • Causes and Consequences of Cognitive Functioning Across the Life Course by Robert M. Hauser, University of Wisconsin, Madison

    The lead article examines cognitive abilityor IQacross a lifetime and notes that educational attainment is more influential than IQ in predicting life success. Based on findings from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, the author reports that IQ has little influence on job performance, occupational standing, earnings, or wealth among persons with equal levels of schooling.

  • Test-based Grade Retention: Does It Stand Up to Professional Standards for Fair and Appropriate Test Use? by Randall D. Pennfield, University of Miami

    Ending social promotion is often touted as an important strategy in K-12 education. The results of this investigation indicate that test-based retention policies potentially violate several professional standards for fair and appropriate test use.

  • Student Eligibility for a Free Lunch as an SES Measure in Education Research by Michael Harwell and Brandon LeBeau, University of Minnesota

    The authors challenge the use of eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch as an indicator of family poverty. Although often used in research studies, a student's eligibility for free lunch is not an accurate measure of socioeconomic status (SES), the authors say. Despite its frequent use, the free lunch variable possesses important deficiencies that suggest that other measures of SES should be considered.

  • LGBT and Queer Research in Higher Education: The State and Status of the Field by Kristen A. Renn, Michigan State University

    This article systematically examines scholarship on LGBT/Queer research in higher education. Noting that general problems and questions of access, equity, learning, and leadership persist across all sectors of postsecondary education, the author points to how queer theory, with increasing methodological rigor and theoretical depth, might contribute to addressing larger questions in higher education than possible through socially constructed binary categories such as male/female, teacher/learner, and leader/follower.

  • International Large-Scale Assessment Data: Issues in Secondary Analysis and Reporting by Leslie Rutkowski, Indiana University; Eugenio Gonzalez, Educational Testing Service; Marc Joncas, Statistics Canada; and Matthias von Davier, Educational Testing Service

    Framed as a "primer" on the issues and methods necessary to obtain unbiased results from large-scale assessment data, particularly on TIMSS, PIRLS, and PISA, this article raises important and challenging issues regarding the rigorous use of such large-scale databases to produce findings of educational import throughout the world.

Each of these articles in Educational Researcher examines a different issue, taking a look at evidence with an innovative eye and opening a window to redirect thinking in the five representative fields of education research.


Contact: Helaine Patterson
American Educational Research Association

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