SREE Makes Strides with Journal Impact Factor, Fall Conference

Larry and Jacqueline
IPR education researcher and statistician Larry Hedges speaks with Jacqueline Jones, one of SREE's directors and
the president of the Foundation for Child Development, at SREE's fall 2014 conference

The Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness (JREE) recently received its first impact factor in Thomson Reuters Web of Science. JREE—the journal of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness—garnered the third-highest ranking of 219 journals in the education and educational research category for 2013.

The journal’s impact factor indicates that “the papers that are published in JREE ask the right questions and get attention in the field,” said Michigan State University’s Spyros Konstantopoulos, co-editor of JREE. Impact factors are typically calculated by dividing the number of times articles in a journal were cited during the current year by the number of items published in the journal during the previous two years, and can signify a journal’s importance in a particular field.

“It’s really the first journal that focuses on evaluations from large experiments,” Konstantopoulos said of the journal, which published its first volume in 2008.

The cover of JREE

He added that it has also become a good home for randomized education experiments, which are the “gold standard” of rigorous research designs and are widely used in the field of medicine.

SREE and JREE were founded to improve the use of high-quality research methods, including randomization and quasi-experiments, in education research, according to IPR education researcher and statistician Larry Hedges, who currently serves as SREE’s president. Hedges founded the society in 2004 with Mark Constas of Cornell University and Florida State University’s Barbara Foorman.

Looking ahead, Konstantopoulos said JREE’s editorial board plans to increase the number of articles per issue and potentially expand publication frequency.

SREE Director Rob Greenwald said that the society is working to provide more rapid access to the latest methodological research than is possible in a traditional print journal format.

SREE’s fall 2014 conference a worthwhile event for education researchers

In addition to publishing JREE, SREE also serves as a vital collaborative and training resource for the education research community. It organizes two major conferences per year in Washington, D.C. The fall 2014 conference, “Common Ground for Practice and Research: Targeted Improvement Initiatives,” featured a keynote address on value-added metrics by economist Raj Chetty of Harvard University, as well as additional plenaries, symposia, panels, paper sessions, and workshops.

Raj Chetty
Raj Chetty

For the first time, SREE was able to offer professional development courses free of charge to conference registrants due to support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It also fostered participation from policymakers and practitioners through numerous invited sessions featuring school district and state education agency personnel.

Kelly Hallberg (SESP, ’13), a principal researcher at the American Institutes for Research, took part in “Using Research and Local Expertise to Improve Teacher Evaluation Systems,” finding it germane to her work evaluating education programs for school districts and state departments of education.

Hallberg, also a former IPR graduate research assistant, said hearing from policymakers and state- and district-level school administrators is important in order to take their needs into account when designing research studies.

“Going to the conference really makes you take a step back from your own work and think about it from a broader perspective,” Hallberg said. “That’s a nice reminder for all of us to make sure that we keep our work relevant.”

Michael Weiss, a senior associate at social policy research firm MDRC, has attended SREE’s conferences for the past six years. The conferences are worthwhile, he said, because of their networking opportunities.

“I’ve met people who I collaborate with now, and it’s hard to picture how that would have happened had I not gone to these kinds of conferences,” Weiss said.