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Shaun  Dougherty, Ed.D. - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Shaun Dougherty, Ed.D. Shaun  Dougherty, Ed.D.

Assistant Professor of Education & Public Policy | University of Connecticut


His research focuses on education policy analysis, causal program evaluation, economics of education, and career and technical education.


Shaun M. Dougherty is an Assistant Professor of Education and Public Policy at the Neag School of Education and Department of Public Policy at the University of Connecticut. He holds a doctorate in quantitative policy analysis from Harvard University as well as a master’s degree in educational administration from Gwynedd Mercy University. His research and teaching interests focus on education policy analysis, causal program evaluation, and the economics of education, with expertise in career and technical education. In particular, he emphasizes how education can address human capital development as well as issues of equity related to race, class, gender, and disability. Dougherty is a former high school mathematics teacher and assistant principal. His work has been published in leading journals and has been cited by major media outlets. He has received research funding from the Institute for Education Sciences, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Institute for Research on Poverty, which also recognized him as an Early Career Scholar. In addition, he is a Strategic Data Project Faculty Adviser through the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University, and has conducted applied policy analysis with several states and large districts, as well as the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and the Manhattan Institute.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Postsecondary Education Educational Policy Career & Technical Education Economics of Education Vocational Education

Education (3)

Harvard University Graduate School of Education: Ed.D., Quantitative Policy Analysis of Education

Gwynedd-Mercy University: M.S., Educational Administration

University of Massachusetts: B.S., Mathematics/ Economics

Accomplishments (1)

Emerging Scholars Small Grants, Institute for Research on Poverty (professional)

IRP awarded funding to five projects as part of the Promising Programs to Reduce Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty research initiative. The $20,000 awards support research that runs from June 13, 2014, through November 13, 2015. Throughout the award period, grantees benefit from consultation with IRP senior affiliates, with each other, and, during a workshop at which grantees will present their draft paper, with other senior poverty scholars.


Media Appearances (5)

Want a job? It’s still about education

Salon  online


While degree requirements have changed, education continues to be the cornerstone of job preparation and success.

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Trump Education Cuts will Undermine Economic Growth Goals

Newsweek  online


Though career and technical education funding is on Trump’s list of cuts, it is the area of education spending that my research suggests has the most potential to boost economic growth. These benefits would be realized through better-paying jobs and fewer dropouts, which also help achieve other positive economic and social outcomes.

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Reinventing high school

Christian Science Monitor  online


Education policy makers understand that the world of work has changed, and that for long-term success, some college-level education is going to be required for most people to earn a living wage. Career-tech schools with strong academics show that “there are multiple pathways to it,” says Shaun Dougherty, a professor at the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education.

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Escaping the Disability Trap

The Atlantic  online


To assess whether negative tracking was happening in its well-established network of vocational schools, the state of Massachusetts consulted Shaun Dougherty, an assistant professor of education policy and leadership at the University of Connecticut. Dougherty did find that students with disabilities were overrepresented in the state’s voc-tech schools, accounting for about 25 percent of their enrollment (versus 15 percent of the entire high-school population). Yet attending a voc-tech school often enhanced a special-needs student’s educational prospects. Compared to their peers with disabilities who weren’t in the workforce programs, they were more likely to finish high school in four years—a particularly noteworthy statistic considering special-needs students can stay in school until age 21, according to Dougherty.

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In Arkansas, Career and Technical Education Paying Off

US News  online


"The goal of today's CTE is simple: to connect students with growing industries in the American economy and to give them the skills and training required for long-term success," said Shaun Dougherty, an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut's Neag School of Education and author of the report.

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Articles (5)

The Rhode to Turnaround: The Impact of Waivers to No Child Left Behind on School Performance Educational Policy

Shaun M. Dougherty, Jennie M. Weiner


Using data from Rhode Island, and deploying a fuzzy regression-discontinuity design, this study capitalizes on a natural experiment in which schools, in accordance with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waivers, were sorted into performance categories based on a continuous performance measure. The lowest performing schools were then mandated to implement interventions. We find that schools implementing fewer interventions perform no differently than comparable schools without such requirements. Additionally, schools just required to implement more interventions performed worse than comparable schools implementing fewer. Finally, we find differences in the probability of student mobility from lower performing schools.

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Career and Technical Education in High School: Does It Improve Student Outcomes? Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Shaun M. Dougherty


Until the late 1990s, "vocational education" in traditional trades such as carpentry, cosmetology, and auto mechanics was often the presumptive high school placement for low-performing students considered ill-suited for college. However, in the past two decades, policymakers and educators have reconsidered what is now referred to as "Career and Technical Education" (CTE). Done right, secondary CTE provides preparation and skill building for careers in fields such as information technology, health services, and advanced manufacturing, in which many positions require a postsecondary education.

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Does Race Still Matter?: A Post Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Era ... Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics

Joseph N Cooper, Shaun Dougherty


The purpose of this study was to conduct a cross sectional analysis of Black and non-Black student athletes' experiences both within and between a Division I historically Black college/university (HBCU) and predominantly White institution (PWI) in the post Bowl Championship Series (BCS) era to identify key factors associated with their academic performance and any observable differences in experience in college and educational goal commitments.

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Middle school math acceleration and equitable access to eighth-grade algebra: Evidence from the Wake County Public School System Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis

Shaun M Dougherty, Joshua S Goodman, Darryl V Hill, Erica G Litke, Lindsay C Page


Taking algebra by eighth grade is considered an important milestone on the pathway to college readiness. We highlight a collaboration to investigate one district's effort to increase middle school algebra course-taking. In 2010, the Wake County Public Schools began assigning middle school students to accelerated math and eighth-grade algebra based on a defined prior achievement metric.

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The effect of teacher–family communication on student engagement: Evidence from a randomized field experiment Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness

Matthew A Kraft, Shaun M Dougherty


In this study, we evaluate the efficacy of teacher communication with parents and students as a means of increasing student engagement. We estimate the causal effect of teacher communication by conducting a randomized field experiment in which sixth-and ninth-grade students were assigned to receive a daily phone call home and a text/written message during a mandatory summer school program.

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