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 Associate 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
  • How are English teacher preparation programs educating English teachers to teach into the 21st century? A study of the current practices used to educate English teachers in a time of teacher accountability
  • Enhancing the Sociology Pipeline: A Capacity-Building Workshop for Secondary Social Studies Teachers

Recent Publications

  • Kelly, Sean & Yuan Zhang. (2016). Teacher Support and Engagement in Math and Science: Evidence from HSLS. The High School Journal, 99, 141-165.
  • D'Mello, S. K., Olney, A. M, Blanchard, N., Sun, X., Ward, B., Samei, B., & Kelly, S. (2015). Multimodal Capture of Teacher-Student Interactions for Automated Dialogic Analysis in Live Classrooms. Proceedings of the 17th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI 2015) (Multimodal Learning Analytics Grand Challenge MLA'15). (pp. 557-566). ACM: New York, NY.
  • Kelly, Sean. (2015). There is still a role for district mergers in promoting equality of educational opportunity. The UCEA Review, 56(3), 18-23.
  • Kelly, Sean & Laura Northrop. (2015). Early Career Outcomes for the "Best and the Brightest:" Selectivity, Satisfaction, and Attrition in the Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Survey. American Educational Research Journal, 52, 624-656.
  • Kelly, Sean & Heather Price. (2014). Changing Patterns of Engagement in the Transition to High School. In Bempechat, J. & Shernoff, D. J. (Eds.) Engaging Youth in Schools: Evidence-Based Models to Guide Future Innovations. National Society for the Study of Education Yearbook, 113, pp. 15-36.