IES-PIRT Proseminar Series

The Institute of Education Sciences-funded Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training (IES-PIRT) program is an interdisciplinary fellowship program designed to train students of diverse backgrounds to become outstanding researchers in the educational sciences. In addition to funding doctoral students from the seven affiliated departments across NYU the program includes a proseminar series. The series brings together presentations by both NYU and external experts who will help to introduce, reintroduce, and consolidate students' advanced understanding of the concepts of internal, external, construct, and statistical validity.

Unless otherwise noted, all sessions are open to the public (note that anyone unaffiliated with IHDSC may be asked to provide a photo ID at the security desk). Unless otherwise noted, all sessions are scheduled at 12:00pm-1:30pm in Kimball Hall, 246 Greene Street, Room 607W.

Fall 2018

10/22: Dr. Sharon Vaughn, Manuel J. Lustiz Endowed Chair in Math, Science, and Technology in Teacher Education, University of Texas at Austin; Executive Director, Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk

Title: Challenges of Conducting Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) in Schools

Sharon Vaughn will discuss the challenged and benefits of conducting RCTs in school settings.  Using the following 3-year study as an example, she will provide an overview of how challenging multi-year studies can be and how the findings can be ultimately beneficial. The authors report the effects of a yearlong, very small-group, intensive reading intervention for eighth-grade students with serious reading difficulties who had demonstrated low response to intervention (RTI) in both Grades 6 and 7. At the beginning of Grade 6, a cohort of students identified as having reading difficulties were randomized to treatment or comparison conditions. Treatment group students received researcher-provided reading intervention in Grade 6, which continued in Grade 7 for those with low response to intervention; comparison students received no researcher-provided intervention. Participants in the Grade 8 study were members of the original treatment (N = 28) and comparison (N = 13) conditions who had failed to pass a state-mandated reading comprehension test in both Grades 6 and 7. In Grade 8, treatment group students received a 50-minute, daily, individualized, intensive reading intervention in groups of two to four students per teacher. The results showed that students in the treatment condition demonstrated significantly higher scores than comparison students on standardized measures of comprehension (effect size = 1.20) and word identification (effect size = 0.49), although most continued to lack grade-level proficiency in reading despite 3 years of intervention. Findings from this study provide a rationale for intensive intervention for middle school students with severe reading difficulties.

10/29: Dr. Noelle Hurd, Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia

Title: Online Discrimination, Black Students’ Academic Experiences, and the Role of White Bystanders

A primary driver of the Black-White college-completion gap may be the discriminatory experiences Black students face at predominantly White institutions (PWIs; McCabe, 2009). Relative to other racial/ethnic groups, Black college students report the lowest satisfaction with campus racial climate at PWIs; moreover, perceptions of negative racial climate may indirectly influence students’ persistence in college and degree completion (Museus et al., 2008). Notably, limited research to date has examined the role of online discrimination in influencing students’ perceptions of campus racial climate even though online social spaces may be the most salient and damaging venues for acts of discrimination among college-aged youth (Tynes et al., 2013). Moreover, the limited research that has been conducted largely has not explored White students as actors and bystanders who are implicated in these online interactions. Thus, the current study was undertaken to 1) document the nature and frequency of racially-discriminatory comments posted on social media platforms commonly used by college students (specific to one university community), 2) better understand how racist posts affect Black students’ perceptions of institutional racial climate, sense of belonging at their institution, and academic performance, 3) better understand how White students experience racist posts, and 4) identify factors that may prompt White students to confront racist posts with the goal of developing a bystander intervention for White students to confront other White students who are engaging in anti-Black online discrimination. The current study included three components: surveillance and coding of social media data, focus groups with Black and White college students, and an experiment to assess whether a brief intervention could change the willingness of White students to confront online discrimination. Study findings will be presented along with a discussion of possible implications and future directions.

11/12: Dr. Philip Oreopoulos, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, University of Toronto

Title:The Remarkable Unresponsiveness to Nudging College Students and What We Can Learn from It

Over the last four years, Dr. Oreopoulos has been working with college instructors to research how online exercises, text messages, emails, and electronic calendars can be used to improve academic achievement.  The setup works remarkably well in getting students to engage and contemplate advice within their own contexts.  Instructors impose a small participation grade at the start of a course for completing an online ‘warm-up exercise’.  This leads to exposing virtually all students to randomized content designed to improve mindset, study habits and motivation.  While some of these efforts reveal hints of improved study time, mental health and very enthusiastic feedback about user experience, he has yet to estimate markedly improved course grades or retention from his tested programs, including ones based on previous promising studies.  The findings raise several questions: 1) whether University of Toronto students are not very influenced from ANY program offered outside the classroom; 2) whether different findings would arise if the interventions were aimed at community colleges or U.S. institutions where persistence rates are much lower; 3) whether more specific advice or targeted efforts might be more effective; 4) whether improvements to experience and mental health might, on their own, justify scaling up the programs. 

11/19: Dr. Rebecca Thornton, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Title: TBD


12/12: Dr. Brian Jacob, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy, Professor of Public Policy, Professor of Economics, Professor of Education, University of Michigan

Location: Kimball Hall, 246 Greene Street, 1st Floor Lounge

Time: 4:00pm-5:30pm

Title: TBD


[Co-sponsored with IHDSC]

Proseminar Archive