Graue wins Distinguished Contribution to Research Award from Early Education SIG

UW–Madison’s Elizabeth Graue is receiving the Distinguished Contribution to Research Award from the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Early Education/Child Development (EECD) special interest group (SIG).

Beth Graue

Graue is a professor emerita with the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She started her career as a kindergarten teacher and is the former director of the Center for Research on Early Childhood Education.

The Distinguished Contribution to Research Award recognizes an individual who has contributed nationally and internationally to the field of early education/child development as well as to the EECD SIG. The award is given annually and selected by a committee of previous chairs of the EECD SIG.

In announcing Graue as the award winner, the EECD explained how her “pioneering research on school readiness altered the way that early childhood educators conceptualize the construct of school readiness. Her work emphasized the variability of school readiness based on children’s sociocultural background and contexts within their local community, prompting early childhood educators and policy makers to reconsider what the readiness means.”

The story continued to note how “Graue underscored the necessity and significance of qualitative research such as ethnographic observation, classroom observation, interviews of stakeholders, and policy analysis to promote positive change in early childhood education.”

The EECD announcement explained how “Graue’s empirical work has persisted through her numerous studies investigating the changing kindergarten, the impact of class-size reduction on teaching, rethinking assessment, and prekindergarten expansion. She has consistently produced high-quality research that challenges education stakeholders to deeply contemplate their approach to educating children and their families.”

Graue, the story continued, “has served as a mentor to numerous graduate students in early childhood education over the past decades. Her guidance of the next generation of scholars, both at UW–Madison and beyond, has resulted in many of her former students to become leaders within the field of early childhood education. They have contributed significantly to major associations such as American Educational Research Association and the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators. Therefore, the impact of her research extends beyond her published work; it is reflected in the expansion of ideas through her mentorship over 30 years. This influence is poised to endure and resonate throughout the field for generations to come.”

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