Professor Larry Hedges

Chairman of the Department of Statistics, Northwestern University


Yidan Prize for Education Research




Education statistics and evaluation, International comparative education, Education policy, Education system, Equality in education, Education psychology

Focus by region

North America

Improving future generations of education through a scientific approach

Professor Larry Hedges, Chairman of the Department of Statistics, Board of Trustees Professor of Statistics; Education and Social Policy; Psychology; and Medical Social Sciences, and Faculty Fellow of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University in Chicago is the Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate 2018.

Professor Hedges is one of the most influential applied statisticians in the world. His work in educational policy allows policymakers, educators and the general public to see the evidence for “what works” in the field of education, and makes it possible to take a scientific approach to improving education for future generations.

Professor Hedges has authored or co-authored ten books and numerous journal articles, including the seminal Statistical Methods for Meta-Analysis (with I. Olkin, Elsevier, 1985) and The Handbook of Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis (with H. Cooper and J. Valentine, Russell Sage, 2009).


He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Statistical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Educational Research Association. He is also a member of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, which established an annual endowed lecture in his honor. In 2016, he was selected to give the inaugural Hedges Lecture. Professor Hedges was nominated by President Barack Obama to the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June 2012, and was elected Chair of the Board in 2016.

The Chicago chapter of the American Statistical Association elected him as “Statistician of the Year” for 2013–14. In 2018, he became the third American to be elected an Honorary Member of the European Association of Methodology.  


Highlighting evidence based decision making in education

Promoting Best Practices in the Synthesis in Educational Research

With the Yidan Prize funds, The Statistics for Evidence-Based Policy and Practice (STEPP) Center was founded in 2019 to facilitate collaboration between statisticians, researchers, policymakers and practitioners.

The organisation focuses on using evidence to guide decisions, especially in education and applied social sciences.

Learn more about this initiative
“His work is particularly valuable in that it is widely applicable, replicable and scalable. It can be adopted anywhere in the world to bring this evidence-based approach to improving education to meet future needs.”

By Mr Andreas Schleicher

Panel Head, Judging Panel for Education Research, Yidan Prize

It is my pleasure to introduce Professor Larry Hedges, whose work enables researchers around the world to take an evidence-based approach to improving education, allowing facts to replace political and personal bias in policy debates.

Professor Hedges, Chairman of the Department of Statistics at Northwestern University in Chicago, is perhaps one of the most accomplished applied statisticians in the world. He has developed statistical methods for meta-analysis in social, medical and biological sciences and has found innovative ways of synthesizing research findings across studies.

While statistics may not sound exciting to everyone, this work is truly ground-breaking. Everyone agrees that changes in education are needed, but there is no agreement on how these changes should be made. Professor Hedges’ work allows for changes in education to be based on scientific evidence, taking ideology and subjectivity out of the debate.

Moreover, Professor Hedges’ commitment to training research professionals is truly remarkable. By providing training on designing, conducting and analysing statistical research, he is helping ensure the spread of his unique science-based approach, inspiring the future generations of educational researchers.

Professor Hedges’ work is particularly valuable in that it is widely applicable, replicable and scalable. It can be adopted anywhere in the world to bring this evidence-based approach to improving education to meet future needs.

I would like to once again congratulate Professor Hedges and all the other Yidan Prize nominees on the tremendously important work they’re carrying out. And I am certain that the best is yet to come.