what we can and what we do: how differences in opportunities and their navigation contribute to occupational stratification in Sweden

Monday February 26 2024 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Leads

  • Yann Renisio, CNRS/SciencesPo
  • Emil Bertilsson, Uppsala
  • Astrid Collsiöö, Uppsala

Social stratification arises from disparities in both the range of opportunities available to people and in how people navigate those opportunities. Yet the relative influences of these two dimensions are rarely observed, as most available information is limited to realized actions. We use the case of university admissions in Sweden to overcome this observational problem. Leveraging comprehensive register and archival data, we break down the cumulative impact of access and navigation differences on the production of gender and social background stratification in university programs of study with varying social outcomes. We show that: (1) In the aggregate, social background and gender exhibit significant cumulative and non-interactive influence on the array of attainable programs, favoring women and individuals from higher social-class backgrounds (2) There is a strong and interactive effect of gender and parents’ SES on the distribution of outcomes of reachable programs (2a) an increase in SES quintile has a systematically positive effect on the median social outcome for each gender, but the spread of this effect between the first and last quintile is twice larger among men than among women (2b) While there is a very large difference between the median social outcome of lower SES quintile of men and women, in favor of women, there is no difference between men and women of the highest SES quintile (3) The number of reachable programs explain most of the difference between applicants and non-applicants, as well as the difference between successful and non successful applicants (4) Net of the space of possible outcome, men of all SES quintiles navigate their possibilities towards higher social outcomes programs than women of all SES, with little to no secondary effect of SES, except for women of the highest quintile outperforming females from the lowest ones in the navigation of their possibles.

curricular analytics at UERU

Thursday February 8 2024 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Leads

  • Steve Dandaneau, Colorado State
  • Greg Heileman, Arizona

Dandaneau and Heileman will provide an overview of the curricular analytics research program under the auspices of the Association for Undergraduate Education at Research Universities (UERU). The organization recently received a major grant from the Ascendium Educational Group for study of how curricular structures can inform faculty curriculum oversight and, through intentional data-guided structural reform, facilitate student learning and equitable student success.

person-level modeling of intent to enroll in higher education and training

Monday January 29 2024 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Lead

  • Seth Reichlin, CollegeAPP

Reichlin’s firm, CollegeApp, combined over 200,000 survey responses with commercially-available demographic, financial, employment, and lifestyle data on 241 million US adults.  CollegeApp used machine learning to score each US adult on their intent to enroll in higher education and training; their preference for which type of institution to attend; their preference for instructional delivery mode; and their motivations for enrolling.  Based on this research, Reichlin’s talk explores the geography of who intends to enroll in higher education and training programs.

wasted education: how we fail our graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math

Thursday January 18 2024 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Lead

  • John D. Skrentny, UC-San Diego

Despite billions of dollars invested in STEM education and employer claims of shortages of STEM graduates, only about a third of STEM graduates work in STEM jobs. This talk explores the reasons why, and how returns on STEM education can be improved. It offers an overview of Skrentny’s new book, Wasted Education: How We Fail Our Graduates in Science, Technology, Education and Math (Chicago, 2023).

diversity in the classroom? sociodemographic homogeneity, isolation, and segregation across college courses

Monday January 8 2024 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Leads

  • Kim Weeden, Cornell
  • Liyu Pan, Cornell

This project utilizes course enrollment data from Cornell University to assess how students from different social groups (self-identified race/ethnicity, gender, first gen, and domestic vs. international status) are segregated across courses, how much of this segregation is tied to college major, and whether students are more likely to swap out of courses where they are social isolates.

segregation, ethnic disparities in university application choices, and educational stratification: evidence from revealed choice data

Monday November 27 2023 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Leads

  • Dafna Gelbgiser, Tel Aviv University
  • Sigal Alon, Tel Aviv University

Racial and ethnic disparities in educational trajectories and outcomes continue to be central concerns for stratification scholars and policymakers worldwide. A key contributor to these disparities lies in ethnic and racial variations in college application behaviors, which lead to higher rates of academic mismatch among disadvantaged applicants. This paper delves deeper into the role of decision-making processes in generating ethnic and racial disparities in college application choices. We propose that application considerations anchored in an unequal and segregated opportunity structure can generate systematic group differences in college application choices, resulting in suboptimal outcomes for disadvantaged minorities. We evaluate this argument using unique administrative records detailing the revealed choices of Jewish and Arab applicants to universities in Israel, recognizing the high levels of ethnic segregation, education, and labor market stratification in this country. The data and context allow us to pinpoint group differences in decision-making because we can discount costs, geographic proximity, or information constraints—factors often cited as reasons for disparities in application choices. Results from conditional logit (choice) models uncover ethnic differences in how applicants weigh program characteristics. This leads to substantial variation in the rate of academic mismatch and accounts for the bulk of the ethnic gap in university admission. Results demonstrate the importance of decision-making processes in understanding ethnic-racial stratification.

“can someone explain how we TAG, again?” keystone agents and curriculum navigation in community college transfer pathways

Monday November 20 2023 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Lead

  • Michael G. Brown, Iowa State

Community college (CC) students who intend to transfer to baccalaureate programs often encounter complex curricular requirements. To navigate them, students activate their social and academic networks in a variety of ways. In this case study of a cohort of CC students in an urban system, we trace the the importance of those we call keystone agents — people in network positions which bridge campus ecologies. We find that keystone agents are important source of information and other supports. We illustrate how keystone agents share information across student networks and how their beliefs about curriculum navigation hold sway over students’ course-taking behaviors, even when these beliefs run counter to the design of guided pathways programs and other local campus-based interventions. Keystone agents’ information sharing aims to create organizational pathways that are intended to reduce friction within CC course sequences, but they also have a series of unintended consequences when students choose to transfer. We offer implications for the development of transfer support programs and interventions, curricular policy-making, and the design of campus environments.

quantifying complexity: trying to measure curricular rules

Thursday November 16 2023 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Leads

  • Rachel Baker, Penn
  • Nicholas Huntington-Klein, Seattle University

In this update of work presented at the Pathways seminar in February 2023, we will present our approach to creating measures to describe and quantify complexity in major curricular requirements, which may act as a barrier to the students’ ability to navigate college. We discuss our general goals in creating the measures, the past work we draw upon, and our different analytic approaches, which were variably fruitful. We present descriptive results showing our measures of task complexity in major requirements in four departments at each of 32 colleges.

an overview of the College and Beyond II data for pathways researchers

Monday November 6 2023 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Leads

  • Allyson Flaster, Michigan
  • Anna Paulson, Michigan
  • Kevin Stange, Michigan

Doing good pathways research requires access to the right kinds of data. For example, studying students’ trajectories through college requires data that is longitudinal and relational; learning from the diverse experiences of students at different types of institutions requires data from multiple colleges; and understanding the long-term value of educational experiences requires data that follows students well beyond college. It is rare for one data source to have all these qualities—plus be accessible to all qualified researchers—which is why we constructed the College and Beyond II (CBII) data. The purpose of CBII is to democratize access to rich institutional data, and in doing so, produce new insights about how undergraduate education works. In this presentation we provide a general overview of CBII that highlights the many data types (e.g., administrative records, transcripts, survey outcomes, written responses) and measures (e.g., validated scales, National Student Clearinghouse enrollment and awards records, AP test scores) that are available. To illustrate the data’s potential, we will highlight preliminary work using the data. The presentation will also be conversational, allowing pathways researchers an opportunity to discuss how the data could be used to answer their own research questions and further their research agendas.

understanding academic pathways through course engagement

Thursday November 2 2023 Noon - 1 PDT

Session Lead

  • Renzhe Yu, Teachers College/Columbia

While existing research on academic pathways has typically observed progress via observation of course enrollments and major selection, there are more subtle aspects of students’ everyday experiences that comprise academic progress as well. My research explores the potential of large-scale digital trace data from learning-management systems (such as Canvas) to capture students’ longitudinal patterns of engagement, which is a precondition for development and success in higher education. By examining engagement patterns, I provide a more nuanced and comprehensive picture of student activity and experience, and better understand the development of academic pathways.