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Noted Researcher Joins Northwestern Faculty

September 27, 2005

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Larry V. Hedges, an internationally recognized social scientist whose research has transformed our understanding of education, biomedical research, statistics and evaluation, and other disciplines, has joined the Northwestern University faculty at the start of the 2005-06 academic year.

He will serve as the Board of Trustees Professor of Statistics and Social Policy and be a faculty fellow of Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research.

Hedges joins Northwestern after a 25-year career at the University of Chicago, where he was the Stella M. Rowley Distinguished Service Professor, with appointments in education, psychology, sociology, and public policy.

A leader in the movement to promote the use of evidence-based policymaking in education, Hedges is a member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Psychological Association. His research interests include the development of statistical methods for social research, the use of statistical concepts in social and cognitive theory, the demography of talent and academic achievement, and educational policy analysis. A major area of methodological work has been the development of statistical methods for combining evidence from multiple empirical research studies (meta-analysis) in the social, medical, and biological sciences. 

Co-author of the definitive “Statistical Methods for Meta-Analysis” and the “Handbook of Research Synthesis,” he chairs the technical advisory group of the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse. The clearinghouse attempts to provide educators, policymakers, researchers and the public with a central, reliable source of scientific evidence about what works in education.

Hedges also does research on the social distribution of academic achievement, its change over time, and its relations to schooling and other social processes. His research provides information about the impacts of schooling and how the characteristics of individuals and their environments affect academic achievement. This work provides the basis for designing better education intervention studies and helps lead to a better understanding of educational inequality and its persistence over time. 

Hedges’ work on education policy has focused on the impact of school resources on student achievement. He showed that, contrary to previous belief among researchers, the bulk of research findings supported the idea that greater school resources are related to student achievement gains. He used experimental evidence to demonstrate that class size reductions in the early grades provide some significant and lasting benefits for students. He has also found evidence that teacher effects are larger in lower income schools than in higher income schools. His work in psychology has focused on the development of statistical models that incorporate notions of uncertainty into cognitive models for estimation, categorization, and discrimination.

The author of numerous articles, Hedges has collaborated with educational researchers, economists, sociologists, cognitive and social psychologists and medical researchers.  Serving in editorial positions with journals in education, psychology, sociology, and statistics, Hedges has exerted strong interdisciplinary influence.

Hedges is co-editor of “The Social Organization of Schooling” (2005, Russell Sage Foundation). With research from the fields of education, organizational theory and sociology, the book provides a new framework for analyzing America’s schools and understanding the challenges they face.

Topics: University News