Center for Urban Education

Ecology of Youth Learning and Development Program

Decades of education and social science research has shown that factors largely out of students' control--for example, their family's socioeconomic status or neighborhood safety--have an influence on the way they learn and grow. The Center for Urban Education conducts research to identify what these "ecological" factors are, how they influence young people, and what schools can do to offset the deleterious effects of certain factors. Current projects within the Ecology of Youth Learning and Development Program are noted below.

Project Description Staff
Evidence for School Climate and School Climate Improvement This study, funded by and conducted in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Education, seeks to understand how school climate in Ohio K-12 schools predicts student outcomes like academic achievement, attendance, and discipline. It further examines the degree to which students of different backgrounds and identities may experience school climate differently. Finally, it endeavors to identify evidence-based strategies for school climate improvement. The project began in February, 2020. Adam Voight (PI); Dakota King-White (Co-PI); Steven Sanders; Xiaona Jin; Sophia Elliott
Nashville Longitudinal Study of Youth Safety and Well-Being Through this study, funded by the National Institute of Justice of the U.S. Department of Justice, an interdisciplinary team of researchers, educators, city government and juvenile court staffers, police and youth development workers will develop a dataset to understand how neighborhood, home, and school factors influence the well-being and success of urban young people. This study will begin in January, 2017 and span five years, resulting in a longitudinal dataset that will help understand how social context matters for urban youth development and education. Maury Nation (Vanderbilt University, PI); David Diehl (Vanderbilt University, Co-PI); Adam Voight (Co-I); Paul Speer (Vanderbilt University, Co-I); Emily Tanner-Smith (Vanderbilt University, Co-I); Benjamin Fisher (University of Louisville, Co-I)
The Effects of Residential Mobility on the Education Outcomes of Urban Middle School Students

Residential mobility is associated with negative education outcomes for urban students, but there is little empirical evidence for school factors that may ameliorate these effects. One such factor may be civic engagement at school. This study analyzed data from 2,000 urban middle school students to examine the interplay of residential mobility, education outcomes, and school civic engagement. Findings show that students who change residences have lower academic achievement and rates of attendance and that mobile students who are leaders in school groups and attend afterschool programs have more positive education outcomes compared to their mobile peers who are uninvolved. Results of the study were published in an article in the journal Urban Education. This study was supported by funding from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Adam Voight (PI); Regina Giraldo-García; Marybeth Shinn (Vanderbilt University)

Notes: PI = Principal Investigator; Co-PI = Co-Principal Investigator; Co-I = Co-Investigator; PD = Project Director