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Sean F. Reardon

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Sean F. Reardon
Academic Title 
Other Titles 

Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education

Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research

Director, Stanford Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Program in Quantitative Education Policy Analysis

Contact Information
Program Affiliations 
Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE)
SHIPS (PhD): Economics of Education
SHIPS (PhD): Educational Policy
SHIPS (PhD): Sociology of Education

The causes and patterns of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic achievement disparities;

The effects of school integration policies on segregation patterns and educational outcomes;

Income inequality and its educational and social consequences.

My research investigates the causes, patterns, trends, and consequences of social and educational inequality. In particular, I study issues of residential and school segregation and of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in academic achievement and educational success. In addition, my work develops methods of measuring social and educational inequality (including the measurement of segregation and achievement gaps) and methods of causal inference in educational and social science research.

“The income-achievement gap is now more than twice as large as the black-white achievement gap. Fifty years ago, in contrast, the black-white gap was twice as large as the income gap.... At the same time that family income has become more predictive of children’s academic achievement, so have educational attainment and cognitive skills become more predictive of adults’ earnings. The combination of these trends creates a feedback mechanism that may decrease intergenerational mobility. As the children of the rich do better in school, and those who do better in school are more likely to become rich, we risk producing an even more unequal and economically polarized society.” (read more…)

  • Ed.D. (Educational Administration, Planning, and Social Policy) Harvard Graduate School of Education (1997)
  • M.Ed. (Educational Administration, Planning and Social Policy) Harvard Graduate School of Education (1992)
  • M.A. (International Peace Studies) University of Notre Dame (1991)
  • B.A. (Program of Liberal Studies; Minor in Honors Mathematics) University of Notre Dame (1986)

The Pennsylvania State University (1999-2004)

  • Using Data to Describe the World: Descriptive Social Science Research Techniques (EDUC 430C, SOC 258)
  • Education and Inequality (ED 107/207, SOC 107E/205)
  • Causal Inference in Quantitative Education and Social Science Research (ED 255B, SOC 257)
  • Applied Quasi-Experimental Research in Education (EDUC 255C, SOC 258)
  • Workshop on Quantitative Education Policy Research (EDUC 339)

Reardon, S.F., Kalogrides, D., Shores, K. (forthcoming). The geography of racial/ethnic test score gaps. American Journal of Sociology.

Reardon, S.F., Kalogrides, D. Fahle, E., Podolsky, A., & Zarate, R. (forthcoming). The Relationship Between Test Item Format and Gender Achievement Gaps on Math and ELA Tests in 4th and 8th Grade. Education Researcher.

Reardon, S.F., Baker, R.B., Kasman, M. Klasik, D., & Townsend, J.B. (forthcoming). Can Socioeconomic Status Substitute for Race in Affirmative Action College Admissions Policies? Evidence from a Simulation Model. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Baker, R.B., Klasik, D., & Reardon, S.F. (forthcoming). Race and Stratification in College Enrollment over Time. AERA Open.

Fahle, E., & Reardon, S.F. (forthcoming). How much do test scores vary among school districts? New estimates using population data, 2009-2015. Education Researcher.

Murnane, R.J., & Reardon S.F. (2018). Long term trends in private school enrollment by family income. AERA Open 4(1):1-24.

Reardon, S.F., Shear, B.R., Castellano, K.E., & Ho, A.D. (2017). “Using Heteroskedastic Ordered Probit Models to Recover Moments of Continuous Test Score Distributions From Coarsened Data.” Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics 42(1):3-45.

Porter, K. Reardon, S.F., Unlu, F., Bloom, H., & Robinson-Cimpian, J.P. (2017). “Estimating Causal Effects of Education Interventions Using a Two-Rating Regression Discontinuity Design.” Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness.

Reardon, S.F., Townsend, J., & Fox, L. (2017). “A Continuous Measure of the Joint Distribution of Race and Income Among Neighborhoods.” Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences.

Reardon, S.F., & Portilla, X.A. (2016).  “Recent Trends in Income, Racial, and Ethnic School Readiness Gaps at Kindergarten Entry.” AERA Open 2(3):1-18. 

Owens, A., Reardon, S.F., & Jencks, C. (2016). “Income Segregation Between Schools and Districts.” American Education Research Journal.

Reardon, S.F. (2016). “School Segregation and Racial Achievement Gaps.” Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 2(5):34-57.

Bassok, D., Finch, J.E., Lee, R., Reardon, S.F., & Waldfogel, J. (2016). “Socioeconomic Gaps in Early Childhood Experiences, 1998 to 2010.” AERA Open 2(3):1-22.

Chmielewski, A.K., & Reardon, S.F. (2016). “Patterns of Cross-National Variation in the Association Between Income and Academic Achievement.” AERA Open.

Reardon, S.F., Kasman, M., Klasik, D., & Baker, R. (2016). Agent-Based Simulation Models of the College Sorting Process. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 19(1)8. Available at

Umansky, I., Valentino, R.A., & Reardon, S.F. (2016). “The Promise of Two-Language Education.” Educational Leadership 73(5): 10-17.

Valentino, R.A., & Reardon, S.F. (2015). “Effectiveness of four instructional programs designed to serve English learners: Variation by ethnicity and initial English proficiency.”  Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 37(4): 612-637.

Reardon, S.F., & Ho, A.D. (2015). “Practical Issues in Estimating Achievement Gaps from Coarsened Data.” Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 40(2): 158-189.

Reardon, S.F., Fox, L., Townsend, J.  (2015). Neighborhood Income Composition by Race and Income, 1990-2009.  Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 660: 78-97.

Umansky, I.M., and Reardon, S.F. (2014).  “Reclassification Patterns among Latino English Learner Students in Bilingual, Dual Immersion, and English Immersion Classrooms.”  American Educational Research Journal 51: 879-912.

Reardon, S.F., and Owens, A.  (2014).  “Sixty Years After Brown: Trends and Consequences of School Segregation.”  Annual Review of Sociology 40: 199-218.

Reardon, S.F., Unlu, F., Zhu, P., & Bloom, H. (2014). “Bias and Bias Correction in Multi-Site Instrumental Variables Analysis of Heterogeneous Mediator Effects.” Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics 39(1): 53-86.

Bischoff, K. & Reardon, S.F.  (2014).  “Residential Segregation by Socioeconomic Status, 1970-2009.”  In John Logan (Ed.), US2010: America in the First Decade of the New Century.  New York: Russell Sage.

Carter, P.L., & Reardon, S.F. (2014). “Inequality matters.” William T. Grant Foundation Inequality Paper.  Available at New York: William T. Grant Foundation.

Reardon, S.F., and Raudenbush, S.W.  (2013). “Under What Assumptions do Site-by-Treatment Instruments Identify Average Causal Effects?”  Sociological Methods and Research 42(2): 143-163.

Reardon, S.F. (2013).  “The Widening Income Achievement Gap.” Educational Leadership 70(8):10-16.

Bassok, D., and Reardon, S.F. (2013).  “`Academic Redshirting’ in Kindergarten: Prevalence, Patterns, and Implications.”  Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 35(3): 283-297.

Reardon, S. F.  (2013).  “No Rich Child Left Behind.”  New York Times (p. SR1).  Available at

Reardon, S.F., Yun, J.T., Chmielewski, A.K. (2012). “Suburbanization and school segregation.” In William F. Tate (Ed.), Research on Schools, Neighborhoods, and Communities: Toward Civic Responsibility. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

Reardon, S.F., Valentino, R.A., & Shores, K.A. (2012). “Patterns of Literacy Among U.S. Students.” Future of Children 22(2): 17-37.

Raudenbush, S.W., Reardon, S.F., & Nomi, T. (2012). “Statistical Analysis for Multi-site Trials Using Instrumental Variables with Random Coefficients” Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness 5: 303-332.

Reardon, S.F., Grewal, E., Kalogrides, D., & Greenberg, E. (2012). “Brown fades: The End of Court Ordered School Desegregation and the Resegregation of American Public Schools.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 31(4): 876-904.

Ho, A.D., & Reardon, S.F. (2012). “Estimating Achievement Gaps from Test Scores Reported in Ordinal `Proficiency’ Categories.” Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics 37(4): 489-517.

Reardon, S.F., & Robinson, J.P. (2012). “Regression discontinuity designs with multiple rating-score variables.” Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness 5(1): 83-104.

Reardon, S.F., & Bischoff, K. (2011). More Unequal and More Separate: Growth in the Residential Segregation of Families by Income, 1970-2009. Report prepared for the Russell Sage US2010 project.

Reardon, S.F. (2011). “The widening academic achievement gap between the rich and the poor: new evidence and possible explanations.” In Richard Murnane & Greg Duncan (Eds.), Whither Opportunity? Rising Inequality and the Uncertain Life Chances of Low-Income Children. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Reardon, S.F., & Bischoff, K. (2011). “Income Inequality and Income Segregation.” American Journal of Sociology. 116/4: 1092-1153.

Reardon, S.F., & Rhodes, L. (2011). “The Effects of Socioeconomic School Integration Plans on Racial School Desegregation.” In Erica Frankenberg, Elizabeth DeBray-Pelot, and Gary Orfield (Eds.), Legal and Policy Options for Racially Integrated Education in the South and the Nation. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Strunk, K.O., & Reardon, S.F. (2010). “Measuring the Strength of Teachers’ Unions: An Empirical Application of the Partial Independence Item Response Approach.” Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics 35(6): 629-670.

Reardon, S.F., Arshan, N., Atteberry, A., & Kurlaender, M. (2010). “Effects of Failing a High School Exit Exam on Course-Taking, Achievement, Persistence, and Graduation.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 32(4): 498-520.

Reardon, S.F., & Raudenbush, S.W. (2009). “Assumptions of Value-Added Models for Estimating School Effects.” Educational Finance and Policy 4(4): 492-519.

Reardon, S.F. (2009). “Measures of Ordinal Segregation.” Research on Economic Inequality, 17: 129-155.

Reardon, S.F. & C. Galindo. (2009). “The Hispanic-White Achievement Gap in Math and Reading in the Elementary Grades.” American Educational Association Journal 46(3): 853-891.

Reardon, S.F., Cheadle, J.E., & Robinson, J.P. (2009). “The effect of Catholic schooling on math and reading development in kindergarten through fifth grade.” Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness 2: 45-87.

Reardon, S.F., Farrell, C.R., Matthews, S.A, O’Sullivan, D., Bischoff, K., & Firebaugh, G. (2009). “Race and Space in the 1990s: Changes in the Geographic Scale of Racial Residential Segregation, 1990-2000.” Social Science Research 38:55-70.

Reardon, S.F., Matthews, S.A, O’Sullivan, D., Lee, B.A., Firebaugh, G., Farrell, C.R., & Bischoff, K. (2008). “The geographical scale of metropolitan racial segregation.” Demography 45: 489-514.

Reardon, S.F. & C. Galindo. (2007) “Patterns of Hispanic Students’ Math Skill Proficiency in the Early Elementary Grades.” Journal of Latinos and Education 6(3): 229-252

Reardon, S.F., & Robinson, J.P. (2007). “Patterns and trends in racial/ethnic and socioeconomic achievement gaps.” In Helen A. Ladd & Edward B. Fiske (Eds.), Handbook of Research in Education Finance and Policy. Lawrence Erlbaum.

Reardon, S.F. (2006). “A Conceptual Framework for Measuring Segregation and its Association with Population Outcomes.” In J. Michael Oakes & Jay S. Kaufman (Eds.), Methods in Social Epidemiology. Pp 169-192.

Reardon, S.F., and Raudenbush, S.W. (2006). “A partial independence item response model for surveys with filter questions.” Sociological Methodology 36: 257-300.

Reardon, S.F., Yun, J.T, & Kurlaender, M. (2006). “Implications of Income-Based School Assignment Policies for Racial School Segregation.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 28(1): 49-75.

Reardon, S.F., & O’Sullivan, D. (2004) “Measures of spatial segregation” Sociological Methodology 34:121-162.

Reardon, S.F., & Yun, J.T. (2003). “Integrating neighborhoods, segregating schools: The retreat from school desegregation in the South, 1990-2000.” North Carolina Law Review 81/4:1563-1596.

Reardon, S.F., & Firebaugh, G. (2002). “Measures of multigroup segregation.” Sociological Methodology 32:33-67.

Reardon, S.F., & Yun, J.T. (2001) “Suburban racial change and suburban school segregation, 1987-1995.” Sociology of Education. 74/2:79-101.

Reardon, S.F., Yun, J.T., & Eitle, T.M. (2000) “The changing structure of school segregation: Measurement and evidence of multi-racial metropolitan school segregation, 1989-1995.” Demography, 37/3: 351-364.


I am currently working on an ongoing study of the patterns of achievement and achievement gaps in every school district in the U.S. (

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