Grace Kao, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology, Education, and Asian American Studies

Education: 

Ph.D., Sociology, University of Chicago, 1997
A.M., Sociology, University of Chicago, 1997
A.B., Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, 1990

Curriculum Vitae

Research Description: 

What accounts for immigrant, racial, and ethnic disparities in educational outcomes? Educational achievement and attainment differences persist for minorities and immigrants in the United States. At what age do these differences first appear? Are the educational differences of minority and immigrant children simply a reflection of their parents' class status? My work has used quantitative analyses of nationally-representative data on students and parents to examine these questions. My earlier work focused on adolescents, and I found that children of immigrants outperformed their same-race peers with native-born parents after adjusting for differences in parental social class. I also found that minority youth tend to compare themselves to their same race counterparts, which led me to examine peer groups. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) I examined the determinants and characteristics of interracial and interethnic friendships and romantic relationships among adolescents. Simply put, diverse schools produce diverse friendships but there are signs that interracial friendships and relationships are less common and more fragile than intraracial ones. Currently, I am examining determinants of achievement outcomes among elementary school children and focusing on comparing children of immigrant parents to children of native-born parents within racial groups. I am also interested in how the labor migration of parents affects children who are left behind and hope to expand my work to China. I have collaborated extensively with graduate students on the most recent projects.

Contact Information: 

Office: 232 McNeil Building
Phone: 215.898.9060
Email: grace2@pop.upenn.edu