The Utility of Both Knowing and Learning: District Level Black Student Achievement on Two Academic Outcomes
Darnell Leatherwood

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Research Development Award

Award Year



University of Chicago

Primary Discipline

Using longitudinal data on multiple cohorts of students flowing through nearly all public school districts in the United States, I will assess district variation in Black student academic achievement (grade level achievement) and learning rate (the rate at which scores change across grades, within a student cohort). Specifically, I will use hierarchical linear modeling and population data from the Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA) to answer the following research question: Nationally, how much do districts vary at the intersection of grade level achievement and learning rate for the Black students they serve? This includes delineating nationally, via a dual-axis model, where and under what conditions are districts doing well, or not so well, given these Black student academic outcomes. Given a search for higher-performing districts for Black students, this study will assess average district-level Black student academic outcomes that may speak to the effectiveness of entire districts for Black students and potentially aid in providing evidence for district-level interventions that intend to buttress the educational experiences and academic outcomes of millions of students nationally.
About Darnell Leatherwood
Darnell Leatherwood is currently a National Science Foundation Fellow in Advance Quantitative Research Methods for STEM Education Research at the University of Chicago (in partnership with Michigan State University). He is also Faculty Affiliate at the University of Michigan School of Social Work?s Center for Equitable Family and Community Well-Being and serves as a Young Scholar on The Journal of Negro Education Editorial/Advisory Board out of Howard University in Washington DC.  His research and teaching interests include education, social policy/inequality/inequity, adolescent development & identity formation, race & racism, and quantitative research methods. The goal of Darnell?s research is to eliminate inequities and inequalities in the educational experience of youth. In addition to his academic pursuits, he holds publicly elected office as a Board Member on the Matteson School District 162 Board of Education, is the founder of the Black Male Educators Alliance of Illinois (BMEAIllinois), and started the Black Boys Shine campaign [501(c)(3)] which is purposed to illuminate the character and contributions of Black boys and men nationally/internationally. Darnell holds a Ph.D. in Social Policy and Social Welfare from the University of Chicago Crown Family School, Certificate in Education Sciences from the University of Chicago Committee on Education, M.A. in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago Division of the Social Sciences, and B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Gies College of Business.

Pin It on Pinterest