American Sociological Association

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  1. Stratified Failure: Educational Stratification and Students Attributions of Their Mathematics Performance in 24 Countries

    Country rankings based on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) invite politicians and specialists to speculate about the reasons their countries did well or failed to do well. Rarely, however, do we hear from the students on whose performance these rankings are based. This omission is unfortunate for two reasons. First, research suggests that how students explain their academic performance has important consequences for their future achievements.

  2. (No) Harm in Asking: Class, Acquired Cultural Capital, and Academic Engagement at an Elite University

    How do undergraduates engage authority figures in college? Existing explanations predict class-based engagement strategies. Using in-depth interviews with 89 undergraduates at an elite university, I show how undergraduates with disparate precollege experiences differ in their orientations toward and strategies for engaging authority figures in college. Middle-class undergraduates report being at ease in interacting with authority figures and are proactive in doing so. Lower-income undergraduates, however, are split.

  3. Understanding Educational Policy Formation: The Case of School Violence Policies in Israel

    This study explores mechanisms underlying processes of educational policy formation. Previous studies have given much attention to processes of diffusion when accounting for educational policy formation. Less account has been given to the day-to-day institutional dynamics through which educational policies develop and change. Building on extensive governmental archival data, complemented with interviews and media analysis, I study the development and transformation of school violence policies in Israel.

  4. ''Fake It 'til You Make It'': Why Community College Students' Aspirations ''Hold Steady''

    Sociologists of education have explored the relationship between students’ postsecondary aspirations and their propensity to get "cooled out" in community colleges. However, researchers have directed little attention to students whose aspirations remain stable over long periods of time or to the different roles that college degree goals play in the lives of disadvantaged students. Using four waves of longitudinal interviews, I examine the reasons why low-income women hold steady to their aspirations for college degrees over a three-and-a-half-year period.

  5. Inhabiting Latino Politics: How Colleges Shape Students' Political Styles

    To comply with ideals of multiculturalism and diversity, postsecondary institutions incorporate Latino students into distinct campus cultures. These cultures influence how students interact with one another, the university community at large, and communities outside of campus, ultimately shaping how students inhabit Latino politics. Drawing on data from 20 months of ethnographic fieldwork with six student organizations and 60 in-depth interviews, I compare Latino student organizations in a liberal arts college, a research university, and a regional public university.

  6. The Social Structure of Criminalized and Medicalized School Discipline

    In this article, the author examines how school- and district-level racial/ethnic and socioeconomic compositions influence schools’ use of different types of criminalized and medicalized school discipline. Using a large data set containing information on over 60,000 schools in over 6,000 districts, the authors uses multilevel modeling and a group-mean modeling strategy to answer several important questions about school discipline. First, how do school- and district-level racial and ethnic compositions influence criminalized school discipline and medicalization?

  7. Secondary Education Systems and the General Skills of Less- and Intermediate-educated Adults: A Comparison of 18 Countries

    We investigate the impact of external differentiation and vocational orientation of (lower and upper) secondary education on country variation in the mean numeracy skills of, and skills gaps between, adults with low and intermediate formal qualifications. We use data on 30- to 44-year-olds in 18 countries from the 2011–12 round of the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies. We find that higher levels of external differentiation (tracking) amplify skills gaps between less- and intermediate-educated adults.

  8. Ruptures in the Rainbow Nation: How Desegregated South African Schools Deal with Interpersonal and Structural Racism

    Racially diverse schools are often presented as places where students can learn to challenge racist discourse and practice. Yet there are a variety of processes through which such schools reproduce the very hierarchies they are meant to dismantle. Drawing on 18 months of fieldwork in two racially diverse South African high schools, I add to the literature by analyzing moments that threatened to undermine harmonious race relations. First, I focus on racially charged interpersonal incidents at school.

  9. Trusting Each Other: Student-Counselor Relationships in Diverse High Schools

    Many minority, first-generation, and low-income students aspire to college; however, the college application process can present a significant obstacle. These students cannot always rely on their parents for college information and must instead turn to their high schools, where counselors are in a key position.

  10. Enhancing Student Compositional Diversity in the Sociology Classroom

    It is well documented that interaction between diverse students encourages positive learning outcomes. Given this, we examine how to enhance the quantity and quality of student diversity in university classrooms. Drawing on sociological theory linking life experiences with ways of knowing, we investigate how to increase classroom diversity by considering when, where, and how courses are scheduled and delivered.