Ed Policy Student Wins AERA-MET Dissertation Fellowship to Study Changes in Teaching Practice


Mindy Adnot, a graduate student in the Education Policy doctoral program, has been awarded a $20,000 Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Fellowship Program.

Mindy AdnotThese funds will support Adnot during the coming academic year as she continues to develop her project entitled “Describing the Malleability of Teaching Practice: Evidence from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project.

Working with her mentor Jim Wyckoff, a professor and director of EdPolicyWorks, Adnot will be examining how teachers’ performance changes over time on specific aspects of classroom practice measured through classroom observation.

“We know that teachers’ overall performance improves as they gain experience,” explained Adnot. “But we don’t know much about what these improvements look like inside of classrooms.”

Are teachers becoming better at clearly explaining complex subject material? Are they improving their ability to build relationships with students? These questions have largely gone unanswered in education research.

“In the MET data we now have an incredibly rich, longitudinal dataset on classroom practices, and can tackle these types of important questions,” said Adnot.

The MET project was designed to find out which teachers’ skills make them most effective and to help districts identify and develop great teaching. Over 3,000 teachers participated in the initial data collection.

“The goal with this dissertation work is to provide an initial description of how different aspects of teaching practice change over time, and how these changes are predicted by individual and school factors,” explained Adnot. 

The MET project collected multiple measures of teacher performance including videos of classroom teaching. Survey data on student perceptions was also collected.

“Mindy’s dissertation research will provide valuable insights on the ways teachers develop their skills on the job,” said Wyckoff. “This will help us better understand more effective teacher preparation and professional development.”

The program also provides professional development and training opportunities for students, including presenting at the AERA annual research conference and receiving feedback from editors on a manuscripts in progress.

“I’ve also really enjoyed becoming a part of the MET community of researchers,” said Adnot. “Everyone has been really generous about sharing what they’ve learned in working with the data.”

AERA, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, supports this MET dissertation fellowship program for graduate students in education research.

“We are grateful that AERA provides financial support for the dissertation research of our students,” said Wyckoff. “This support creates rich opportunities for them to develop as researchers.”


Adnot is also a pre-doctoral fellow in the Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) program supported by the Institute of Educational Sciences.

EdPolicyWorks is a joint collaboration between the Curry School of Education and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. EdPolicyWorks brings together researchers from across the University of Virginia and the State to focus on important questions of educational policy and implications for the workforce.