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Race, Gender, and Educational Achievement

Odis Johnson investigates how social issues affect education

Dr. Odis Johnson’s research looks at how educational opportunity varies according to context within the neighborhood or community. He is currently involved in three projects dealing with race, gender, and educational achievement.

The first project, supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Spencer Foundation, investigates seasonal variation in achievement during the first two years of school. Dr. Johnson’s research aims to discover whether the gaps in achievement between black, white, and Hispanic schoolchildren change over the seasons, as some children attend summer education programs while others rely on their parents to provide summertime learning opportunities. He is using multi-level statistical modeling to analyze Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K) data. Students are assessed twice per year, once in May and once in September, in order to determine whether they have continued to learn over the summer months. For children who begin to fall behind during the summer months, year-round schooling or other formal summer education programs could provide a solution.

Dr. Johnson is also involved in two projects that look at the ways that social issues affect educational achievement among youth in suburban Maryland. Even in relatively affluent areas students of color must contend with issues of race and gender. Dr. Johnson is currently finishing a project supported by the Dean’s Research Initiative that looks at racial differences in masculine dispositions toward education among adolescents in Prince George’s County. His newest project will be an evaluation of programs that support the education of high-achieving African American boys in Howard County Public Schools. Preliminary conversations suggest that even programs designed to support achievement among African American youth encounter racial tension in mixed race settings.

Read Dr. Johnson’s bio