Using Big Data to Measure Educational Opportunity and Inequality

12-1 pm

PSTC Seminar Room 205

Sean F. Reardon, Professor of Education, Stanford University

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Co-sponsored by the Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy.

Students in the United States are tested a great deal. In grades three through eight alone, U.S. students take roughly 50 million standardized state accountability tests each year. Their scores on these tests, aggregated within geographic school districts and student subgroups, provide useful proxy measures of the sets of educational opportunities available to children in different communities and groups. Reardon will address the construction and use of a population-level data set (the Stanford Education Data Archive) based on 350 million tests taken by public school students from 2009-2016. Using these data, he describes the patterns and correlates of academic performance and racial/ethnic and socioeconomic achievement gaps at an unprecedented level of detail, with a particular focus on the role of socioeconomic context and segregation patterns in shaping opportunity. These data reveal a great deal about patterns of educational opportunity in the U.S.

Sean Reardon is the endowed Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education and Professor (by courtesy) of Sociology at Stanford University. His research focuses on the causes, patterns, trends, and consequences of social and educational inequality, the effects of educational policy on educational and social inequality, and in applied statistical methods for educational research. Reardon is the developer of the Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA). Based on 300 million standardized test scores, SEDA provides measures of educational opportunity, average test score performance, academic achievement gaps, and other information for every public school district in the US.

Reardon received his doctorate in education in 1997 from Harvard University. He is a member of the National Academy of Education and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also a recipient of the William T. Grant Foundation Scholar Award, the National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship, and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.”

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