PIER Public Seminar Series

Mondays (Spring) • 4:15–5:45 PM Eastern
Larsen Hall 203 • Harvard Graduate School of Education • Live Streaming Event

Next Seminar: February 27

  • 200 Million Test Scores and What Do We Know?

    Income, Race, and the Geography of Educational Opportunity in the United States

Sean Reardon
Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education and Professor (by courtesy) of Sociology, Stanford University
Professor Reardon's 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.

Report Abstract
We test students a great deal in the United States. 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 a useful proxy measure of the sum total of educational opportunities available to children in different communities and groups. In this talk, I will describe the construction and use of a population-level data set (the Stanford Education Data Archive) based on over 200 million test scores from 2009-2013. Using these data, I will describe the patterns and correlates of academic performance and racial/ethnic 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 United States.
Read the full report


This event is being co-sponsored with the Inequality & Social Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School.


The PIER Public Seminar Series is first come, first seated, and open to the Harvard Community and the general public. The event live-stream will be embedded on this webpage.
View previous seminars in the video archive.