June 23, 2015

Gibbs Named National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow

Chloe Gibbs, an assistant professor of public policy and education and faculty at EdPolicyWorks, has been awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Academy of Education (NAEd)/Spencer Foundation program.

This prestigious award is considered one of the topmost distinctions for a professor in education, and one of the most competitive in the field of educational research.

“This is a honor for Chloe and the Batten and Curry Schools,” said Jim Wyckoff, Professor and Director of EdPolicyWorks. “Chloe’s research on early childhood education policy has been acknowledged at the state and federal levels, and it is a real accomplishment for the National Academy of Education to recognize this work.”

Gibbs was one of 25 early-career scholars chosen for this award that supports early career scholars working in critical areas of education research. Her research examines the impact of full-day kindergarten policies and expansions on children, families, and educational systems.

“Full-day kindergarten is an important policy topic,” explained Gibbs. “Full-day kindergarten settings have expanded dramatically across the country in recent years.”

So, what are the long-term effects of full-day kindergarten? Does participation in full-day kindergarten impact the use of special services in later grades? These are the type of questions Gibbs will be tackling.

“Understanding the longer-term and comprehensive effects of full-day kindergarten has been a cornerstone of my broader research agenda,” said Gibbs. “And this fellowship will allow me to explore the impact on both children’s academic and non-cognitive skills that previously hasn’t been studied.”

Using data from school districts and state administrative databases, Gibbs will examine full-day versus half-day kindergarten participation and their effects from third to eighth grade. The unique and new piece of this work is that it is examining later outcomes beyond the early grades.

“We do not know much about the impact of full-day kindergarten on a wider range of development and on longer-term outcomes,” explained Gibbs. “Knowing more about this could really aid in policy decisions about the cost-effectiveness of different early childhood education interventions.”

The fellowship, which begins in September, will provide Gibbs with $70,000 over the next two years as she devotes time to this research. The fellowship also provides extensive professional development opportunities through regular meetings and retreats with other fellows and NAEd members.

“I feel very fortunate to have this dedicated time to work on this topic, and to study it in a rigorous way that has not been investigated previously,” said Gibbs.

The research project Gibbs will pursue as part of this NAEd work is entitled ‘Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Evidence on the Longer-term Impact of Full-day Kindergarten.

“Chloe has already established herself as a promising leader in early childhood research,” said Wyckoff. “And her work continues to provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of educational policy in the United States.”

Gibbs joined the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy faculty with a joint appointment at Curry School of Education in 2012 after earning her doctorate from the University of Chicago.

Gibbs is not the first EdPolicyWorks faculty to receive this honor. Daphna Bassok also received this award in 2014.

Gibbs is a mentor in the Virginia Educational Science Training (VEST) pre-doctoral training program, which is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences. She joins one other VEST faculty at U.Va., Noelle Hurd, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, who also received this award this year.

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.