Tag Archives | Racial Disparities

High Stakes in the Classroom, High Stakes on the Street: The Effects of Community Violence on Student’s Standardized Test Performance

Patrick Sharkey, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Johanna Lacoe

Sociological Science, May 27, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a14



This article examines the effect of exposure to violent crime on students’ standardized test performance among a sample of students in New York City public schools. To identify the effect of exposure to community violence on children’s test scores, we compare students exposed to an incident of violent crime on their own blockface in the week prior to the exam to students exposed in the week after the exam. The results show that such exposure to violent crime reduces performance on English language arts assessments and has no effect on math scores. The effect of exposure to violent crime is most pronounced among African Americans and reduces the passing rates of black students by approximately 3 percentage points.

Patrick Sharkey: Department of Sociology, New York University.
E-mail: Patrick.Sharkey@nyu.edu

Amy Ellen Schwartz: Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, New York University.
E-mail: Amy.Schwartz@nyu.edu

Ingrid Gould Ellen: Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, New York University.
E-mail: Ingrid.Ellen@nyu.edu

Johanna Lacoe: Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California.
Email: lacoe@price.usc.edu

  • Citation: Sharkey, Patrick, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Johanna Lacoe. 2014. “High stakes in the classroom, high stakes on the street: The effects of community violence on students’ standardized test performance.” Sociological Science 1: 199-220.
  • Received: October 29, 2013
  • Accepted: December 20, 2013
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Stephen L. Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a14

Unintended Consequences: Effects of Paternal Incarceration on Child School Readiness and Later Special Education Placement

Anna R. Haskins

Sociological Science, April 21, 2014
DOI 10.15195/v1.a11



Though sociologists have examined how mass incarceration affects stratification, remarkably little is known about how it shapes educational disparities. Analyzing the Fragile Families Study and its rich paternal incarceration data, I ask whether black and white children with fathers who have been incarcerated are less prepared for school both cognitively and non-cognitively as a result, and whether racial and gendered disparities in incarceration help explain the persistence of similar gaps in educational outcomes and trajectories. Using a variety of estimation strategies, I show that experiencing paternal incarceration by age five is associated with lower non-cognitive school readiness. While the main effect of incarceration does not vary by race, boys with incarcerated fathers have substantially worse non-cognitive skills at school entry, impacting the likelihood of special education placement at age nine. Mass incarceration facilitates the intergenerational transmission of male behavioral disadvantage, and because of the higher exposure of black children to incarceration, it also plays a role in explaining the persistently low achievement of black boys.

Anna R Haskins: Columbia Populations Research Center, Columbia University. E-mail: ah3157@columbia.edu

  • Citation: Haskins, Anna R. 2014. “Unintended Consequences: Effects of Paternal Incarceration on Child School Readiness and Later Special Education Placement.” Sociological Science 1: 141-158.
  • Received: February 3, 2014
  • Accepted: February 12, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Sarah A. Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v1.a11