How human development responds to social structure, particularly as embodied in schools, families, and workplaces is a major branch of sociology. I am mainly interested in human development over ages 5 to 20+, and the social and psychological factors that impinge on that development. With my colleague Karl Alexander, I have been engaged since 1982 in the Beginning School Study (BSS), which has followed a cohort of about 800 Baltimore youngsters who began first grade in 1982. A couple of recent papers based on that research are: Summer Setback: Race, Poverty, School Composition, and Mathematics Achievement in the First Two Years of School; and The Gender Gap in Math: Its Possible Origins in Neighborhood Effects, both in the American Sociological Review. At present I am involved in two major subprojects. One is a study of BSS high school drop-outs, supported by the Spencer Foundation, that strives to determine the causes and consequences of drop out. The other is a descriptive study of the work histories of BSS youngsters beginning in middle school and continuing through high school, supported by the W.T. Grant Foundation. Both studies are primarily quantitative.
I teach undergraduate courses in research design and data collection, also in the sociology of human development. In both areas, the intent is to acquaint students with ongoing research as well as with general knowledge in the field. There are often opportunities for undergraduates to work as research assistants in connection with the BSS.
230.328 Sociology of Human Development
Summer Setback: Race, Poverty, School Composition, and Mathematics Achievement in the First Two Years of School. American Sociological Review
The Gender Gap in Math: Its Possible Origins in Neighborhood Effects. American Sociological Review