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  1. Inequality in Reading and Math Skills Forms Mainly before Kindergarten: A Replication, and Partial Correction, of “Are Schools the Great Equalizer?”

    When do children become unequal in reading and math skills? Some research claims that inequality grows mainly before school begins. Some research claims that schools cause inequality to grow. And some research—including the 2004 study ‘‘Are Schools the Great Equalizer?’’—claims that inequality grows mainly during summer vacations. Unfortunately, the test scores used in the Great Equalizer study suffered from a measurement artifact that exaggerated estimates of inequality growth. In addition, the Great Equalizer study is dated and its participants are no longer school-aged.
  2. How School Socioeconomic Status Affects Achievement Growth across School Transitions in Early Educational Careers

    Our study investigates how changing socioeconomic status (SES) composition, measured as percentage free and reduced priced lunch (FRL), affects students’ math achievement growth after the transition to middle school. Using the life course framework of cumulative advantage, we investigate how timing, individual FRL status, and legacy effects of a student’s elementary school SES composition each affect a student’s math achievement growth. We advance research on school transitions by considering how changing contexts affect achievement growth across school transitions.
  3. What’s Taking You So Long? Examining the Effects of Social Class on Completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Four Years

    Despite improved access in expanded postsecondary systems, the great majority of bachelor’s degree graduates are taking considerably longer than the allotted four years to complete their four-year degrees. Taking longer to finish one’s BA has become so pervasive in the United States that it has become the norm for official statistics released by the Department of Education to report graduation rates across a six-year window.
  4. Social Networks and Educational Attainment among Adolescents Experiencing Pregnancy

    Pregnant adolescents are a population at risk for dropout and have been found to complete fewer years of education than peers. Pregnant girls’ social experience in school may be a factor in their likelihood to persist, as social integration is thought to buffer dropout risk. Pregnant teens have been found to have fewer friends than their peers, but the academic ramifications of these social differences have yet to be studied. In this study the author examines whether friendship networks are associated with the relationship between adolescent pregnancy and educational attainment.

  5. Where Are All of the Women? Untangling the Effects of Representation, Participation, and Preferences on Gender Differences in Political Press Coverage

    The author examines why female politicians continue to be underrepresented in the press by measuring how structural inequalities, engagement in traditional and disruptive dialogue, and gender preferences influence the amount of press coverage U.S. House representatives receive.
  6. Biases of Online Political Polls: Who Participates?

    With a large portion of the population online and the high cost of phone-based surveys, querying people about their voter preference online can offer an affordable and timely alternative. However, given that there are biases in who adopts various sites and services that are often used as sampling frames (e.g., various social media), online political polls may not represent the views of the overall population. How are such polls biased? Who is most likely to participate in them?
  7. Teaching Content Analysis through Harry Potter

    Content analysis is a valuable research tool for social scientists that unfortunately can prove challenging to teach to undergraduate students. Published classroom exercises designed to teach content analysis have thus far been predominantly envisioned as lengthy projects for upper-level courses. A brief and engaging exercise may be more beneficial for introductory social science courses in which less time can be allotted to any one topic, such as content analysis.

  8. Discovering Race in a “Post-Racial” World: Teaching Race through Primetime Television

    Teaching students about race remains a challenging task for instructors, made even more difficult in the context of a growing “post-racial” discourse. Given this challenge, it is important for instructors to find engaging ways to help students understand the continuing significance of race and racial/ethnic inequality. In this article, we detail an exercise that asks students to analyze representations of race/ethnicity on network television for one week as a way of illustrating white dominance, white privilege, and racial inequality.

  9. Text Analysis with JSTOR Archives

    I provide a visual representation of keyword trends and authorship for two flagship sociology journals using data from JSTOR’s Data for Research repository. While text data have accompanied the digital spread of information, it remains inaccessible to researchers unfamiliar with the required preprocessing. The visualization and accompanying code encourage widespread use of this source of data in the social sciences.

  10. Visualizing Belief in Meritocracy, 1930–2010

    In this figure I describe the long trend in popular belief in meritocracy across the Western world between 1930 and 2010. Studying trends in attitudes is limited by the paucity of survey data that can be compared across countries and over time. Here, I show how to complement survey waves with cohort-level data. Repeated surveys draw on a representative sample of the population to describe the typical beliefs held by citizens in a given country and period.