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Author: Merry, Joseph
Resulting in 4 citations.
1. Dirlam, Jonathan
Merry, Joseph
Is the Beneficial Effect of College on Self-esteem and Mastery Overstated?
Presented: Philadelphia PA, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, August 2018
Cohort(s): NLSY79 Young Adult
Publisher: American Sociological Association
Keyword(s): College Education; Debt/Borrowing; Pearlin Mastery Scale; Personality/Big Five Factor Model or Traits; Self-Esteem

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Prior studies have found college attendance and degree attainment to increase self-esteem and mastery in young adults. Yet college attendance itself is likely influenced by self-esteem and mastery levels experienced in adolescence. This implies that college education may act as a mediator for adolescent personality characteristics. Using data from the NLSY79-YA, we investigate the potential mediating effect of college education by estimating group based self-esteem and mastery trajectories for respondents between the ages of 14 and 18. We then test the mediating hypothesis for college education by first analyzing whether these adolescent trajectories are influential for college attendance and graduation. Second, we analyze whether the inclusion of these adolescent trajectories significantly reduces the effects of college attendance and degree attainment on self-esteem and mastery levels experienced between the ages of 24 and 32. We also investigate potential mediating relationships of adolescent personality characteristics for education and credit card debt. Our findings suggest that both college education and debt accumulation act as mediators for adolescent self-esteem and mastery trajectories. These findings imply that the benefit of going to college or acquiring debt may be overstated when adolescent personality characteristics are not taken into consideration.
Bibliography Citation
Dirlam, Jonathan and Joseph Merry. "Is the Beneficial Effect of College on Self-esteem and Mastery Overstated?" Presented: Philadelphia PA, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, August 2018.
2. Merry, Joseph
The Mediocre Performance of U.S. Students on International Education Tests: Are Schools to Blame?
M.A. Thesis, Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University, 2012
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79
Publisher: Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University
Keyword(s): Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY); Cognitive Ability; Cross-national Analysis; Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Reading); Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT); Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

The majority of international test results indicate a disappointing performance for American students. Various educational reform efforts within the U.S. cite these results as evidence of failing schools and low-quality teachers. Yet scholars are beginning to acknowledge that international test score differences can be the result of factors beyond the control of schools, such as social conditions outside of school. An important challenge for social scientists, therefore, is to understand the degree to which international test scores reflect characteristics of the nation’s school system versus characteristics of the nation’s social conditions. Toward that end, I compare the reading skills of U.S. children with those in Canada, a country that performs substantially better on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which is administered to students 15-16 years old. My unique contribution is to compare the reading skills of this cohort of students eleven years earlier with results from the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised (PPVT-R) when the cohort was just 4-5 years old and had not yet entered school. I find that while the Canadian advantage at ages 15-16 is substantial (.26 standard deviation units), this advantage already existed at ages 4-5, before schools had a chance to matter. I discuss the implications of this finding for rethinking what comparisons on international tests mean for understanding the quality of school systems.
Bibliography Citation
Merry, Joseph. The Mediocre Performance of U.S. Students on International Education Tests: Are Schools to Blame? M.A. Thesis, Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University, 2012.
3. Merry, Joseph
Tracing the U.S. Deficit in PISA Reading Skills to Early Childhood: Evidence from the United States and Canada
Sociology of Education 86,3 (July 2013): 234-252.
Also: http://soe.sagepub.com/content/86/3/234
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79
Publisher: American Sociological Association
Keyword(s): Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY); Cognitive Ability; Cross-national Analysis; Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Reading); Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT); Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Why does the United States lag behind so many other countries on international education assessments? The traditional view targets school-based explanations—U.S. schools attract poorer teachers and lack the proper incentives. But the U.S. educational system may also serve children with comparatively greater academic challenges as a result of poorer social conditions. One way of gaining leverage on this issue is to understand when U.S. students fall behind their international counterparts. I first compare reading/vocabulary test scores for U.S. and Canadian children (ages 4-5) using National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979–Children and Youth (NLSY79) and Canada’s National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth (NLSCY). I then compare the magnitude of these differences to similar cohorts of students at ages 15 to 16 using data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Findings indicate that while the Canadian advantage in PISA is substantial (0.30 standard deviation units), this advantage already existed at ages 4 to 5, before formal schooling had a chance to matter. I discuss the implications of this pattern for interpreting international test score rankings.
Bibliography Citation
Merry, Joseph. "Tracing the U.S. Deficit in PISA Reading Skills to Early Childhood: Evidence from the United States and Canada." Sociology of Education 86,3 (July 2013): 234-252.
4. Merry, Joseph
Tracing the U.S. Deficit in PISA to Early Childhood: Evidence from the United States and Canada
Presented: Denver CO, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, August 2012
Cohort(s): Children of the NLSY79
Publisher: American Sociological Association
Keyword(s): Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY); Cognitive Ability; Cross-national Analysis; Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT- Reading); Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT); Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Why does the U.S. lag behind so many other countries on international assessments of cognitive skills? The traditional view targets school-based explanations – U.S. schools are less efficient, attract poorer teachers, and lack the proper incentives. But the U.S. educational system may also serve children with greater academic challenges when compared with other countries. Simple comparisons of international test scores fail to reveal whether the U.S. deficit is a function of school problems, or broader societal challenges. One way of gaining leverage on this issue is to understand when U.S. students fall behind their international counterparts. I compare reading/vocabulary test scores for U.S. and Canadian children (ages 4-5) in the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY79) and Canada’s National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth (NLSCY). I then compare the magnitude of these differences to similar cohorts of students at ages 15-16 using data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Findings indicate that while the Canadian advantage at ages 15-16 is substantial (0.30 standard deviation units), this advantage already existed at ages 4-5, before formal schooling had a chance to matter. I discuss the implications of this pattern for interpreting international test score rankings.
Bibliography Citation
Merry, Joseph. "Tracing the U.S. Deficit in PISA to Early Childhood: Evidence from the United States and Canada." Presented: Denver CO, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, August 2012.