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Steinhardt scholars present research on diversity, inequality, and technology at AERA 2016

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More that 70 NYU scholars convened in Washington, DC, for the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA), the largest gathering of academics in the field of education research.

NYU researchers present their findings – spanning work from early childhood education through higher education – April 8 through 12, looking at diverse topics such as race, inequality, and the use of technology in education.

Tuition Variation Trends at Public and Private Universities

Friday, April 8, 2016 at noon ET

Researcher: Gregory Wolniak, director of the Center for Research on Higher Education Outcomes, NYU Steinhardt Differential tuition – or variation in tuition by students' program or year of study – reduce transparency of college costs and may be a mechanism for inequality. Yet no single database of differential tuition exists, impeding our understanding of their impact on affordability and ultimately enrollment behavior. The study is part of a larger project examining differential tuition policies at all public and private four-year universities. Preliminary findings indicate that 60 percent of public research universities have differential tuitions, increasing from roughly 22 percent fifteen years earlier. In addition, nearly 30 percent of private research universities have differential tuition. The researchers conclude that a lack of transparency in differential tuition obscures publicly available information on tuition and costs of attendance.

Influence of Students' Interracial Friendships

Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 12:25 p.m. ET

Researcher: Sun Young Yoon, postdoctoral scholar, Department of Teaching and Learning, NYU Steinhardt

Despite the fact that desegregation policies aim to break the cycle of stratification in schools, racially segregated friendships may undermine those efforts. This study examines the relationships between students' interracial friendships, social capital, and academic outcomes using the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002. The results reveal that non-white students tend to have more interracial friendships than whites. While having more interracial friendships is positively associated with students' reading achievement across all racial groups, non-white students benefit more from their interracial friendships than white students do. However, the study suggests that a high percentage of white students in schools may not be sufficient to improve minority students' academic achievement.

Teachers' Reflections on Using Real-Time Data in Instruction

Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 4:05 p.m. ET

Researcher: Camillia Matuk, assistant professor of educational communication and technology, NYU Steinhardt

How can data support teachers in monitoring their students' work and determining how to tailor their instruction? This paper reports on an early phase of the design of a real-time dashboard within an online science learning environment for middle and high school classrooms. Teachers explored a dashboard prototype during a professional development workshop. Based on their discussions and reflections, the researchers describe several ways that teachers might use data displays, and how they might be best designed to inform their instruction, including identifying students in need of help, streamlining grading, and promoting student reflection and motivation. Findings also point to the importance of teachers' tacit knowledge in interpreting their students' data. They raise the question of how designs for data displays might incorporate teachers' insights, and so become better tools for teaching.

Digital Badges and Learning in a School Geometry Game

Monday, April 11, 2016 at 11:45 a.m. ET

Researchers: Jan Plass, Paulette Goddard Chair in Digital Media and Learning Sciences, NYU Steinhardt; Melissa Biles, doctoral student, Department of Educational Communication and Technology, NYU Steinhardt

Badges, or markers of achievements, can be viewed as one aspect of the emotional design of games that impacts motivational and cognitive outcomes. The researchers conducted two randomized experiments with middle schoolers playing a geometry learning game to compare different badge types. The first study focused on learning, and found that the group in the condition without badges performed significantly better on a geometry posttest than the badges group. The second study examined the effects of interest and badge design on learning outcomes. Learners with higher situational interest performed better with mastery badges, but learners with low situation interest did worse with mastery badges. Overall, the results suggest caution in the use of badges in games for learning as they may negatively impact learning.

#BlackLivesMatter: Urban Education in the Age of Mass Incarceration

Monday, April 11, 2016 at 4:05 p.m. ET

Researcher: David Kirkland, Director of the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, NYU Steinhardt

By the end of 2013, Black and Latino inmates comprised almost 60 percent of the nation's prison population–almost equivalent to school suspension rates. This paper looks at the ways in which U.S. schools–particularly in the conceptual and ideological space of the Black Lives Matter Movement–have kept pace with U.S. prisons and jails in producing a new social group of outcast citizens who are joined by their shared experience of incarceration/detention, crime/rule violation, poverty, racial minority status, and school failure. Using archival research approaches and drawing upon quantitative and qualitative data, this paper seeks to shed new light on a system of institutionalized inequality that too easily substitutes education for incarceration.

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About the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development (@nyusteinhardt)

Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media, and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School's mission has been to expand human capacity through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit steinhardt.nyu.edu.

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