Research

Evaluating Equity-Motivated Practices | Understanding Classed Experiences | Examining Intersections

My research draws on mixed methods to conduct three strands of work to improve scholars’ understanding of socioeconomic inequality. In these strands, I evaluate equity-motivated practices and policies, including how to account for heterogeneity, improve effectiveness, and maximize replicability; understand how people’s experiences, perspectives, values, and beliefs vary by socioeconomic status; and analyze how other social statuses are associated with variation between and within socioeconomic groups. For a list of publications, conference presentations, and research grants, please see my most recently updated CV.

I use both quantitative and qualitative analytic approaches. My quantitative work employs regression, including OLS, logistic regression, and hierarchical linear modeling, as well as quasi-experimental difference-in-differences and instrumental variables approaches. My qualitative research uses in-depth interviews and case studies to identify mechanisms and and develop theoretical accounts for social patterns. Many projects use mixed methods, with qualitative approaches explaining quantitative findings. I have presented my research at annual meetings for SEA, ASA, AEFP, APPAM, and ASHE.

Evaluating Equity-Motivated Practices

My work in this strand draws on mixed methods to analyze patterns and practices resulting in more equitable opportunities for historically disempowered populations — particularly low-SES students. For example, this figure (left) illustrates the effects of a program offering high school students the opportunity to use Pell federal grant aid for dual enrollment participation. As we restricted the sample to increasingly disempowered subsets of students, program effects became more negative and significant. The following projects are part of this strand of research:

Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Matheny, Kaylee T. Forthcoming. “A Seat at the Table: Lessons from Tennessee’s Rapid Achievement and Equity Gains.” Education Policy Analysis Archives.
  • Bettinger, Eric P.,* Amanda Lu,* Kaylee T. Matheny,* and Gregory S. Kienzl. 2022. “Unmet Need: Evaluating Pell as a Lever for Equitable Dual Enrollment Participation and Outcomes.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. OnlineFirst. https://doi.org/10.3102/01623737221091574 [PDF]
  • Matheny, Kaylee T.,* Marissa E. Thompson,* Carrie Townley-Flores,* and sean f. reardon. “Uneven Progress: Recent Trends in Academic Performance Among U.S. School Districts.” R&R at American Educational Research Journal. [Working Paper]
  • Lu, Amanda* and Kaylee T. Matheny.* Equal Inputs, Unequal Outputs: How Capacity Constrains Policy Implementation.” R&R at Harvard Educational Review.

Other Publications

  • Matheny, Kaylee T., Amanda Lu, Eric P. Bettinger, and Gregory S. Kienzl. 2022. Do Pell Grants increase dual enrollment for low-income students? [Brown Center Chalkboard Blog Post, Brookings Institute] [Link]
  • Matheny, Kaylee T.,* Marissa E. Thompson,* Carrie Townley-Flores,* and sean f. reardon. 2021. Increasing school segregation widens White-Black achievement gaps. [Data Discovery, The Educational Opportunity Project] [Link]
  • Matheny, Kaylee T.,* Marissa E. Thompson,* Carrie Townley-Flores,* and sean f. reardon. 2021. Racial socioeconomic inequality predicts growing racial academic inequality. [Data Discovery, The Educational Opportunity Project] [Link]

Papers in Preparation for Submission

  • Matheny, Kaylee T. “Does Equalizing School Funding Lead to More Equitable Outcomes?” [Grant Funded] [Dissertation Chapter]
    • Status: Presented preliminary findings at Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) in March 2022 and at the Russell Sage Foundation’s SEDA Grant convening in May 2022. Draft complete; currently editing for submission.
  • Matheny, Kaylee T. “Equity Compromises in Opportunity Provision.”
    • Status: Manuscript in progress.

*Equal authorship

Understanding Classed Experiences

My work in this strand draws primarily on qualitative methods to understand how socioeconomic status shapes people’s experiences and perspectives. For example, this figure (left) illustrates part of my theoretical contribution from my second dissertation chapter, which examines how perspectives of college differ according to parents’ own experiences with college. The following projects are part of this strand of research:

Papers in Preparation for Submission

  • Matheny, Kaylee T. “A Means to an End or an End in Itself: How Socioeconomic Status Shapes Parents’ Orientations Toward College.” [Dissertation Chapter 2]
    • Status: Presented preliminary findings at Sociology of Education, American Sociological Association, and Chicago Ethnography Conferences in 2021 and 2022. Draft complete; currently editing for submission.
  • Matheny, Kaylee T. “An Empowerment Lens: Unpacking Class-Normative Paradigms in Education Inequality Research.”
    • Status: Draft in progress.
  • Matheny, Kaylee T. “‘Not for Everybody’ or ‘The Only Way’: How Place Shapes Perspectives on Postsecondary Opportunities.”
    • Status: Draft in planning stages.

Examining Intersections

My work in this strand draws on mixed methods to understand how intersecting structures of domination shape people’s lives, with particular attention to differences within and between socioeconomic groups. For example, this figure (left) illustrates a key finding from my third dissertation chapter, in which colleagues and I find that low-SES women experience more “gaps” (temporary dis-enrollments) in their college trajectories than their high-SES women and low-SES men counterparts. The following projects are part of this strand of research:

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Other Publications

  • Natalie Milan, Kaylee T. Matheny, and Ilana M. Horwitz. 2022. “The motherhood penalty begins in college.” [Article, Inside Higher Ed] [Link]
  • Horwitz, Ilana M., Kaylee T. Matheny, and Natalie Milan. 2021. “Abortion Bans and College Drop-outs.” Contexts 20(4):76. https://doi.org/10.1177/15365042211058133 [PDF]

Papers in Preparation for Submission

  • Matheny, Kaylee T., Ilana M. Horwitz, and Natalie Milan. “How Class and Gender Shape Postsecondary Trajectories.” [Dissertation Chapter 3]
  • Matheny, Kaylee T., Sonia X. Giebel, Philip Hernandez, and Ilana M. Horwitz. “How First-Generation, Low-Income Students at an Elite College Navigate Major Selection.”
    • Status: Presented preliminary findings at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in August 2022. Draft in progress

* Denotes equal authorship