Ellen Mandinach, Senior Research Scientist at WestEd, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation at the 2022 AERA Annual Meeting for her leadership, ongoing support, guidance, and mentorship in her role as founder of the Data-Driven Decision Making in Education Special Interest Group (DDDM SIG). Ellen is a leading expert in data-driven decision-making, focusing on understanding how educators use data to inform practice.

The DDDM SIG aims to provide an intellectual home for people working in the area of data-driven decision making, to foster collaboration among interested AERA members with regard to educational research focused on or related to data-driven decision making, and to increase collaboration among university and research entities; local, state, and federal educational agencies; and professionals working in areas of practice related to educational data use.

“The genesis [of the SIG] for me was that I saw my colleagues and myself apply for AERA programs in leadership, teaching, Division C, [and] Division K and getting rejected because the people reviewing our applications didn’t understand the field,” said Ellen. “The SIG gave us a venue to provide a forum and create a cadre of professionals who could have fruitful discussions that would move the trajectory of our field forward in a thoughtful manner.”

The SIG’s robust membership proves the need for the group. “We started with the required 75 signatures, and we’re up to about 230 to 250 members. That’s a substantial growth.”

The Certificate of Appreciation is timely as Ellen hands over the reins of leadership. “[The SIG is] such a wonderful group of dedicated collaborators. I was proud to create and lead this group, and it is now in the capable hands of Lisa Abrams,” she said.

Under Abrams’s leadership, the SIG will continue to promote quality research, practice, and policy in the area of data-informed decision making in order to solve or inform some of the most pressing issues in education and to provide opportunities for colleagues to share their work, create new collaborations, and provide mentoring for young scholars and graduate students.

Learn more about the DDDM SIG and watch an interview with Ellen Mandinach.