Angela Johnson, PhD
Angela Johnson specializes in experimental, quasi-experimental, and mixed methods research designs. Her research focuses on identifying and reducing inequality. Much of her work is done in partnership with schools and districts, with an aim to produce findings that immediately inform practice and policy. Her ongoing projects examine academic opportunities and achievement growth for students with diverse needs, such as English Learners and students eligible for Special Education services. Before embarking on a full-time research career, she was a teacher for many years. She taught English as a second language in the US and abroad for a decade. More recently, she taught a variety of graduate-level courses on economics of education and quantitative research methods.
Dr. Johnson holds a PhD in economics of education from Stanford University and master’s degrees in economics and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) from the University of Southern California.
Publications by Angela Johnson
Using achievement data from fall and spring of grades K-8 for 840,000 students in 8,800 public schools, this study provides novel evidence on how achievement and growth differ between rural and nonrural schools. Rural students start kindergarten slightly ahead of nonrural students but fall behind by middle school. The divergence is driven by larger summer losses for rural students. In both rural and nonrural schools, Black–White achievement gaps widen during the school year.
This report examines the academic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) students, with the goal of documenting achievement trends to provide leaders and policymakers with evidence to guide action to address educational inequities for BIPOC students.
Supporting COVID-19 recovery for students with disabilities: Research findings, policy recommendations, and lessons from the ground
In this webinar by the Alliance for Excellent Education, NWEA, and the National Center for Learning disabilities, learn about recent research on academic growth for students in special education before the pandemic and implications for policies and practices designed to spur COVID-19 recovery.
New research examining academic achievement and growth of students in special education and their peers who were never in special education during each school year and summer in grades K-4 shows that students with disabilities grow as much or more academically during the school year than their peers without disabilities during some years, but that steeper summer learning losses for students with disabilities contribute to widening disparities.
This study compares within- and across-years academic growth for students who were ever in special education (ever-SPED) to students who were never in special education (never-SPED) in grades K-4. Ever-SPED students grew more in math and reading than never-SPED students during many school years, but lost more learning during every summer than their peers, leading to expanding disparities. These findings suggest that summer learning opportunities are crucial for improving educational outcomes for students with disabilities.
This study identifies students’ academic trajectories in the middle grades relative to a set of college readiness benchmarks. We apply math and reading college readiness benchmarks to rich longitudinal data for more than 360,000 students across the nation. Student-level and school-level demographic characteristics significantly predict academic trajectories.
Among the many ways in which schools are being transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the change in kindergarten enrollment is likely to have important consequences in classrooms across the nation. Because the academic and nonacademic skills students develop in their preschool and early elementary school years are foundational to important longer-term outcomes, understanding these changes and finding ways to effectively support our youngest students’ learning is critical for educators and leaders. Drawing on recent research, we offer four timely considerations for district, school, and classroom leaders.