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Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Programs in the Education Sciences


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FY Awards

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Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences

Year: 2008
Name of Institution:
Northwestern University
Goal: Training
Principal Investigator:
Uttal, David
Award Amount: $4,116,861
Award Period: 5 years
Award Number: R305B080027


Northwestern University initially established the Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences (MPES) in 2005. Under the 2008 grant, MPES continued to train fellows to conduct research on education policy and student learning. The motivating assumption was that effective education reform requires that researchers understand the basic cognitive foundations of learning. The MPES program had three related goals: (1) provide a unified interdisciplinary program of coursework and research mentoring on linkages among education policy, student cognition, and achievement in mathematics and reading; (2) ensure that the fellows receive training in rigorous, causally focused research methods; and (3) foster research collaborations among faculty and graduate students from different disciplinary traditions who have common interests in policy, learning, and methodology. MPES created collaborations that result in cutting-edge empirical, methodological, and theoretical work on relations between education policy and practice by bringing together faculty from diverse disciplinary backgrounds.

List of Completed Fellows: Below is a list of the 28 fellows who received funding support from this award and completed the training program.

Anderson, Eleanor (ORCID) Licalsi-Labelle, Christina (ORCID)*
Bauer, Lauren Lowenstein Lo, Abraham (ORCID)
Becker, Kelly Iwanaga Marin, Ananda (ORCID)
Branigan, Amelia Marsh, Ryan
Cannon, Sarah (ORCID) Mekinda Bartges, Megan
Cheon, Bobby (ORCID) Ogawa, Scott
Hallberg, Kelly (ORCID) Puckett, Cassidy (ORCID)
Jenkins, Stuart Takiar Pustejovsky, James (ORCID)
Jones, Brady (ORCID) Shirrell, Matthew (ORCID)
Keifert, Danielle (ORCID) Smith, Lindsey
Kim, Debbie Sparks, Jesse (ORCID)
Kovalsky, Elyse Vargas, Robert
Kuyper, Arend (ORCID) Yang, Christine
Lau, Chris Zapata-Gietl, Claudia

*Denotes fellows who also received funding from award R305B040098.

Project Website:

Related IES Projects:  Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences (MPES) (R305B040098), Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences (R305B140042), Multidisciplinary Program in Educational Sciences (R305B200037)


ERIC Citations: Find available citations in ERIC for this award here.

Select Publications From Completed Fellows:

Book Chapters

Marin, A. M. (2019). Seeing together: The ecological knowledge of indigenous families in Chicago urban forest walks. In Language and Cultural Practices in Communities and Schools (pp. 41–58). Routledge.

Journal articles

Anderson, E. R.(2017). Accommodating change: Relating fidelity of implementation to program fit in educational reforms. American Educational Research Journal, 54(6), 1288–1315.

Berland, L. K., Schwarz, C. V., Krist, C., Kenyon, L., Lo, A. S., & Reiser, B. J. (2016). Epistemologies in practice: Making scientific practices meaningful for students. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 53(7), 1082–1112.

Branigan, A. R.,Freese, J., Patir, A., McDade, T. W., Liu, K., & Kiefe, C. I. (2013). Skin color, sex, and educational attainment in the post-civil rights era. Social Science Research, 42(6), 1659–1674.

Branigan, A. R., McCallum, K. J., & Freese, J. (2013). Variation in the heritability of educational attainment: An international meta-analysis. Social forces, 92(1), 109–140.

Cheon, B. K., & Chiao, J. Y. (2012). Cultural variation in implicit mental illness stigma. Journal of cross-cultural psychology, 43(7), 1058–1062.

Dobie, T. E., & Anderson, E. R.(2015). Interaction in teacher communities: Three forms teachers use to express contrasting ideas in video clubs. Teaching and Teacher Education, 47, 230–240.

Hallberg, K., Wing, C., Wong, V., & Cook, T. D. (2013). Experimental design for causal inference: Clinical trials and regression discontinuity designs. The Oxford Handbook of Quantitative Methods in Psychology, 1(1), 223.

Hedges, L. V., Pustejovsky, J. E., & Shadish, W. R. (2012). A standardized mean difference effect size for single case designs. Research Synthesis Methods, 3(3), 224–239.

Jones, B. K. (2016). Enduring in an "impossible" occupation: Perfectionism and commitment to teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 67(5), 437–446.

Keifert, D. T. (2021). Family culture as context for learning through inquiry. Cognition and instruction, 39(3), 242–274.

LiCalsi, C., Ozek, U., & Figlio, D. (2019). The uneven implementation of universal school policies: Maternal education and Florida's mandatory grade retention policy. Education Finance and Policy, 14(3), 383–413.

Marin, A. M. (2020). Ambulatory sequences: Ecologies of learning by attending and observing on the move. Cognition and instruction, 38(3), 281–317.

Marin, A., & Bang, M. (2018). "Look it, this is how you know:" Family forest walks as a context for knowledge-building about the natural world. Cognition and Instruction, 36(2), 89–118.

Puckett, C. (2019). CS4Some? Differences in technology learning readiness. Harvard Educational Review, 89(4), 554–587.

Puckett, C., & Nelson, J. L. (2019). The geek instinct: Theorizing cultural alignment in disadvantaged contexts. Qualitative Sociology, 42(1), 25–48.

Pustejovsky, J. E. (2014). Converting from d to r to z when the design uses extreme groups, dichotomization, or experimental control. Psychological Methods, 19(1), 92.

Shirrell, M. (2018). The effects of subgroup-specific accountability on teacher turnover and attrition. Education Finance and Policy, 13(3), 333–368.

Shirrell, M., & Reininger, M. (2017). School working conditions and changes in student teachers' planned persistence in teaching. Teacher Education Quarterly, 44(2), 49–78.

Sparks, J. R., & Rapp, D. N. (2011). Readers' reliance on source credibility in the service of comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 37(1), 230.

Vargas, R.(2014). Criminal group embeddedness and the adverse effects of arresting a gang's leader: A comparative case study. Criminology, 52(2), 143–168.


Sparks, J. R.,& Rapp, D. N. (2011). Unreliable and anomalous: how the credibility of data affects belief revision. In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (Vol. 33, No. 33).