Steve Graham wins AERA’s Scribner Award for 2018


Erik Ketcherside

Steve Graham is the winner of the Sylvia Scribner Award for 2018, presented by the American Educational Research Association. Named for American psychologist Sylvia Scribner, the award recognizes researchers whose work over the last decade represents a significant advancement in the understanding of learning and instruction.

Graham is a Mary Ellen Warner Professor of Education at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and editor of the Journal of Educational Psychology. He joins three other MLFTC faculty members who have won the Scribner: Karen Harris (2016 Scribner), also a Mary Ellen Warner Professor of Education who frequently collaborates with Graham in research; Michelene Chi, the Dorothy Bray Professor of Science and Teaching (2013); and Regents Professor Emeritus David Berliner (2008).

“I am very excited about receiving the Scribner Award,” Graham says. “It recognizes lifelong research contributions aimed at improving educational practices, making it especially meaningful to me. I’m also proud to join David, Micki and Karen, the other recipients of this prestigious award, whose work I admire and respect.”

Graham delivered the Scribner Award address on April 6 at AERA’s annual conference in Toronto. His presentation was titled, “Changing School-Based Writing Practices: Evidence from 40 years of research.”

In the presentation, Graham said his research career has taught him that, “We know a lot about how to teach writing and how it develops, but the teacher I once was would say we have not fulfilled our part of the bargain. National surveys we have conducted in the U.S., China and Chile, and surveys and observational studies conducted by others, tell us that, for the most part, teachers are not applying what we’ve learned.”

Graham provided seven recommendations for improving school-based writing instruction, including making writing a public priority; reimagining how schools provide and envision writing instruction; providing adequate time for writing and instruction, particularly for struggling writers; and expanding the goal of writing instruction to include the development of lifelong motivated writers.

Graham’s most recent study of how teachers are applying the results of writing research, “Changing How Writing is Taught,” will be published later this year in Review of Research in Education.