Lee Receives Award from American Educational Research Association

By Mary Cochrane

Release Date: April 11, 2007

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The American Educational Research Association (AERA) has bestowed its Early Career Award on a University at Buffalo professor whose research focuses on educational equity and achievement.

Jaekyung Lee, associate professor of counseling, school and educational psychology in the Graduate School of Education (GSE), received the award today (April 11, 2007) during the AERA's 88th annual meeting in Chicago.

Lee, who earned his doctorate from the University of Chicago, said he was "humbled and honored to receive this prestigious award," which is given each year to a scholar who has conducted a distinguished program of cumulative educational research within the first decade of receiving a doctoral degree.

GSE Dean Mary H. Gresham commended the choice of Lee for the award.

"Professor Lee is committed to unlocking the keys to student potential among diverse groups and his very active research program confirms this," Gresham said. "Too often this potential is overlooked because of limitations in either assessing the talent, or in understanding how to interpret and utilize the existing data that describes the so-called achievement gap.  As this award suggests, Professor Lee's research is of critical import in our attempt to close the gap."

Lee's research focuses on educational accountability for excellence and equity, particularly the issue of closing the achievement gap under the No Child Left Behind Act. He analyzes the effects of school reform policy and practice on student achievement with the goal of improving K-12 education and school improvement in the United States and beyond. His work also seeks to improve educational equity among racial and social groups of students. His findings, published in Educational Researcher and Peabody Journal of Education, showed a significant setback during the 1990s in national progress toward racial equity.

Lee said his most recent work is central "to the current climate of school accountability as

articulated in the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which is aimed at achieving high standards for all students and closing the achievement gap through high-stakes testing and holding schools accountable for performance results."

"My recent study on the impact of accountability on equity, published in American Educational Research Journal and Harvard Civil Rights Project Report, showed that the past high-stakes testing movement had limited impact because it failed to address racial and social inequity in terms of eliminating disparities in key schooling conditions and resources."

Lee's numerous publications include "Racial and Ethnic Achievement Gap Trends" in Educational Researcher (2002) and "The Impact of Accountability on Racial and Socioeconomic Equity" in American Educational Research Journal (2004). His most recent publication is "How National Data Help Tackle the Achievement Gap" (Albany: SUNY Press 2007).  

A professor at UB since 2002, Lee is the author of the forthcoming book "The Testing Gap: Scientific Trials of Test-driven School Accountability Systems for Excellence and Equity."

He is an editorial board member of Education Policy Analysis Archives, as well as an academic advisory board member of the Harvard University Civil Rights Project on the No Child Left Behind Act. Research by Lee, a former National Academy of Education postdoctoral fellow, has been supported by numerous grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation and AERA.

As part of his award, Lee, a resident of Williamsville, will speak at AERA's annual meeting in March 2008 in New York City. The American Educational Research Association is an interdisciplinary research association for some 25,000 scholars from the United States and other countries who undertake research in education. Founded in 1916, AERA aims to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.