Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly (PhD, Sociology; University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Professor and Director of PhD Studies in the Department of Administrative and Policy Studies. He studies the social organization of schools, student engagement, and teacher effectiveness. He advises MA, MED, EdD, and PhD students in two programs of study: Education Leadership and Social and Comparative Analysis in Education. Dr. Kelly’s current research includes a National Science Foundation funded study of classroom discourse (with colleagues in computer science and teacher education), and research on teacher effectiveness (with colleagues in the economics of education) supported by the Institute of Education Sciences. Dr. Kelly serves as co-editor of the American Educational Research Journal. Read more about recent research on:

  • Fine-grained observational measurement of instruction (Hechinger Report article on study results reported in the October issue of Educational Researcher)

  • Tracking, instructional practices, and text complexity for middle school struggling readers in the journal Reading Research Quarterly

  • School-to-school differences in instructional practice in the journal Urban Education

School Affiliations

Recent Grants

Automating the Measurement and Assessment of Classroom Discourse
EXP: Collaborative Research: Cyber-Enabled Teacher Discourse Analytics to Empower Teacher Learning (National Science Foundation, $499,394; Pitt subcontract: $236,928).
Tailoring Teaching to Fit the Class: Teaching Practice and Classroom Composition under Random Assignment (Institute for Educational Sciences, $597,706 total; Pitt subcontract: $86,283).

Recent Publications

Yu, Baeksan, Lim, Hyejung, & Sean Kelly. (in press). Does Receiving a School Free Lunch Lead to a Stigma Effect? Evidence from a Longitudinal Analysis in South Korea. Social Psychology of Education.
Northrop, Laura, & Sean Kelly. (in Press). Who Gets to Read What? Tracking, Instructional Practices, and Text Complexity for Middle School Struggling Readers. Reading Research Quarterly.
Kelly, Sean, Olney, Andrew M., Donnelly, Patrick, Nystrand, Martin, & D'Mello, Sidney K. (2018). Automatically measuring question authenticity in real-world classrooms. Educational Researcher, 47, 451-464.
Dunn, M., VanDerHeide, J., Caughlan, S., Northrop, L., Zhang, Y., & Kelly, S. (2018). Tensions in learning to teach English. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 17, 44-56.
Kelly, Sean & Feifei Ye. (2017). Accounting for the relationship between initial status and growth in regression models. The Journal of Experimental Education, 85, 353-375.
Kelly, Sean & Yuan Zhang. (2016). Teacher Support and Engagement in Math and Science: Evidence from HSLS. The High School Journal, 99, 141-165.
Sean Kelly


University of Pittsburgh
5527 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260