Sean Kelly

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Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly

University of Pittsburgh
5527 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-648-7165


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. Dr. Kelly’s work appears in journals such as the American Educational Research Journal, Sociology of Education, Social Science Research, the Journal of Experimental Education, and a variety of edited volumes, handbooks, and popular press outlets. He is the editor of Assessing Teacher Quality: Understanding Teacher Effects on Instruction and Achievement (Teachers College Press). In 2014 he received the Exemplary Research in Teaching and Teacher Education award from AERA’s Division K. 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. He teaches courses in educational reform, the sociology of education, social theories of educational inequality, and research methods. He advises MA, MED, EdD, and PhD students in two programs of study: Education Leadership and Social and Comparative Analysis in Education. He recently completed a two-year position as chair of AERA’s Sociology of Education SIG. He also serves on the editorial board of the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and 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

  • 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, S., Zhang, Y., Northrop, L., VanDerHeide, J., Dunn., M., & Caughlan, S. (2018). English and language arts teachers' perspectives on schooling: Initial exposure to a teacher education curriculum. Teacher Education Quarterly, 45, 57-85.
  • 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.