Mason centers receive gift from Hewlett Foundation to bridge research practice gap in education

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Two centers at George Mason University—EdPolicyForward in the College of Education and Human Development and the Center for Advancing Human Machine Partnership (CAHMP), a transdisciplinary research center—will collaborate on a project that aims to better connect research to practice in education policymaking, and support school divisions in improving student and teacher performance and enhancing the effectiveness and fairness of resource allocation through data-driven decision making.

The collaboration is supported by a generous gift from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that advances ideas and supports institutions to promote a better world. The collaboration between EdPolicyForward and CAHMP manifests the power and opportunities that transdisciplinary research can bring to Mason's research and practice community. 

Mason professor Sanmay Das
Sanmay Das

The Education Program at Hewlett Foundation makes grants to help educators, schools and communities turn schools into places that empower and equip students for a lifetime of learning and to reach their full potential.

The core Mason project team includes Sanmay Das, professor of computer science and co-director of CAHMP; Anne Holton, professor of public policy and education; Seth B. Hunter, assistant professor of education leadership; David Houston, director of EdPolicyForward and assistant professor of education; and Peng Warweg, assistant director of CAHMP.

Mason professor Anne Holton
Anne Holton

The project will leverage the core team’s expertise in education policy research, artificial intelligence, and advanced data analytics, as well as partnerships with local school divisions, to better connect research to practice, with the goal of helping all students succeed through efficient, effective, and equitable use and distribution of school resources.

Over the next 16 months, the team will deliver a series of policy briefs to communicate relevant research findings to state and local leaders on matters of importance to their decision-making, creating a two-way dialogue between researchers and policymakers, and a dissemination strategy to inform the policymaking decisions of local, state, and national audiences.

The project is also expected to enhance the capacity for data-driven decision-making in school divisions, especially in the use of methods from artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced data analytics to support and enhance equity in access to programs that benefit student outcomes and improve student and teacher performance.

EdPolicyForward, the Center for Education Policy, promotes equity and improved educational outcomes for all students, from preschool through college and beyond. The center connects research to policy and practice, develops and advances effective and pragmatic solutions, and drives meaningful public discourse addressing persistent inequalities in U.S. public education.

Founded in 2019, the transdisciplinary CAHMP facilitates research, teaching, and innovation in understanding and leveraging human-machine partnership to solve current and emerging societal problems. CAHMP’s network of researchers work on cross-disciplinary topics, such as responsible AI, learning technology, education policy and analytics, and generative AI for education.