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Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education
Scott Davies

Scott Davies
Program Coordinator, Educational Leadership and Policy Program

phone: 416 978-1157

Department: Leadership, Higher and Adult Education

Research Overview

Sociology of education, large scale data analysis, research design and methods, policy-oriented research, student achievement.

I am a Canada Research Chair and recipient and have built a research lab at OISE that houses a wide variety of education data, and is a hub for policy-relevant research.

My research has several branches. One examines trajectories of student achievement over several years using data to track students from their early years into post secondary levels. These data may be used to assess impacts of interventions in reducing educational inequality. In the past I have partnered with Ontario’s Ministry of Education to assess the power of summer learning programs to reduce numeracy and literacy gaps. I am now partnering with ONCAT and McMaster's Early Development Instrument team to examine student trajectories over many years.

Another branch examines educational organizations, paying attention to the variety of school forms that are emerging at all levels of schooling, including various types of private schools and tutoring businesses, and various public schools of choice.

A third branch centres more on sociological theories of education, with an aim to understand causes and mechanisms of educational stratification. I am particularly interested in further developing ideas about "cultural capital" and "interaction ritual" in schooling.

Curriculum Vitae

Academic History

PhD in Sociology, University of Toronto (1992)
MA in Sociology, McMaster University (1987)
BA in Psychology and Sociology, University of Toronto (1986)

Academic positions:
Current: Professor and Canada Research Chair, Educational Leadership and Policy, OISE, University of Toronto (since 2014)

Former: Professor and Ontario Research Chair, Department of Sociology, McMaster University, 1994-2014
SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia, 1993-4

Teaching Overview

I teach the following courses at OISE:

LHA 3040: Organizational Studies in Education

LHA 1035: Sociology of Education

JOI 6003: Quantitative Research Practicum

I have supervised MA theses and PhD dissertations on topics including summer learning gaps, leadership in private schools, school bullying, structural stratification of higher education, returns to schooling, labeling of students, private schools, linguistic minority students, technology and student engagement.

Representative Publications

Student Achievement Trajectories

Aurini, Janice and Scott Davies. 2021. “Covid-19 School Closures and Educational Achievement Gaps in Canada: Extrapolations from Ontario Summer Learning Research." Canadian Review of Sociology 58(2):165-185.

Rizk, Jessica and Scott Davies. 2021. “Can Digital Technology Bridge the Classroom Engagement Gap? Findings from a Qualitative Study of K-8 Classrooms in 10 Ontario School Boards.”  Social Sciences 10: 12. 10010012.

Davies, Scott. Magdalena Janus, Caroline Reid-Westoby, Eric Duku and Perry Schlanger. 2021.  Does the Early Development Instrument Predict Academic Achievement in Ontario French Schools?" Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science.

Davies, Scott and Janice Aurini. 2021. “Estimates of Student Learning During COVID-19 School Disruptions: Canada in International Context.” Chapter 3, p50-69 in Vaillancourt, T. et al. Children and Schools During COVID-19 and Beyond: Engagement and Connection Through Opportunity. Royal Society of Canada.

Davies, S., M. Janus, E. Duku and A. Gaskin. 2016. “Using the Early Development Instrument to Examine Cognitive and Non-Cognitive School Readiness and Elementary School Achievement.”  Early Childhood Research Quarterly 35(2):63-75.

Davies, S., D. Cyr, J. Rizk & M. Janus. 2016. “Exploring Patterns of Educational Achievement Gaps: Where Do They Come From?”  The Sociology of Education in Canada: Contemporary Debates and Perspectives, edited by Wolfgang Lehmann, Oxford University Press.

Davies, S., J. Aurini, J. Jean-Pierre and E. Milne. “Les effets des programmes d’été de littératie : Les théories d’opportunités d’apprentissage et les élèves « non-traditionnels » dans les écoles ontariennes francophones.” (The Effects of Summer Literacy Programs: Learning Opportunity Theory and “Non-Traditional” Students in Ontario French Language Schools). Canadian Journal of Sociology, 2015.

Davies, S., V. Maldonado and D. Zarifa. 2014. “Effectively Maintaining Inequality in Toronto: Predicting University Destinations of Toronto District School Board Graduates.” Canadian Review of Sociology 51(1):22-53.

Davies, Scott. 2013. “Are there Catholic School Effects in Ontario, Canada?” European Sociological Review 29(4): 871-883.

Davies, Scott and Janice Aurini. 2013. “Summer Learning Inequality in Ontario.” Canadian Public Policy. 39(2) 287-307.

Educational Organizations

Davies, S. and R. Pizarro Milian. 2022. “Maintaining Status in New Times.” Chapter in The Routledge Handbook of the Sociology of Higher Education, 2nd ed, ed. by J. Côté & S. Pickard.

Davies, Scott and Janice Aurini. 2021. “The Evolving Prism: The Role of Nationalism in Canada’s Expanding Higher Education System.” European Journal of Higher Education 11(3): 239-254.

Zarifa, David and Scott Davies. 2018. “Structural Stratification in Higher Education and the University Origins of Political Leaders in Eight Countries.” Sociological Forum, 33(4):974-999.

Pizarro Milian, Roger and Scott Davies, 2017. “Open Competition or Balkanized Coexistence? The Effects of Market Segmentation on Toronto Private Schools.” Education Policy Analysis Archives. 25(38)1-21.

Pizarro Milian, Roger, Scott Davies and David Zarifa. 2016. “Barriers to Differentiation: Applying Organizational Studies to Ontario Higher Education”. Canadian Journal of Higher Education 46(1):19-37.

Aurini, J., J. Dierkes and S. Davies (editors). 2013. Out of the Shadows: The Global Intensification of Supplementary Education. Emerald.

Davies, S. and D. Zarifa. 2012. “The Stratification of Universities: Structural Inequality in Canadian and American Higher Education.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 30(2): 143-158.   

Davies, S. and J. Aurini. 2011.  “School Choice in Canada:  Who Chooses What and Why?” Canadian Public Policy 37(4): 459-477.

Theory in Sociology of Education:

Davies, Scott and Jessica Rizk. 2018. “The Three Generations of Cultural Capital Research: A Narrative Review.” Review of Educational Research 88(3):331-365. 

Mehta, Jal and Scott Davies (editors). 2018. Education in a New Society: Renewing the Sociology of Education. University of Chicago Press.

Mehta, Jal and Scott Davies 2018. “We Must Reinvigorate the Sociology of Education.” Contexts 17(2):80.

Davies, Scott. 2021. “The Contested Profession: A Sociological Autobiography.” Chapter 3, p. 78-98 in S. Riggins and N. McLaughlin. Canadian Sociologists in the First Person. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press.

Davies, Scott and Neil Guppy. 2006, 2010, 2013, 2018. The Schooled Society: An Introduction to the Sociology of Education (first, second, third and fourth editions). Toronto: Oxford University Press. 275, 313, 333 and 312 pages. Toronto: Oxford University Press.



Research Grants and Contracts

Davies, Scott (PI), Magdalena Janus, Eric Duku, James Dunn, Jessie-Lee McIsaac, Katholiki Georgiades, Laurie R. McNelles and Martin Guhn. 2020. “Student Achievement Trajectories in Ontario: Capacities, Contexts and Causes.” SSHRC Insight Grant (2020-2024): $254,482.

Walters, David (PI), Scott Davies, David Zarifa, Gillian Parekh, Rob Brown, and Karen Robson (co-investigators). 2020. “Connecting partners: Promoting access across education, skills and employment pathways.” SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2020-2023). $199,976 ($21,000 to come to OISE)

Davies, Scott (PI), Carol Campbell and Janice Aurini (Co-investigators). 2020. “Evaluation of Edwin Nova Scotia Pilot.” Research Contract with Nelson Canada. $22,834.

Davies, Scott (PI) and Neil Guppy. 2020. “Comparing University Outcomes of International Baccalaureate Graduates with their Peers in Toronto and Vancouver." Research Contract with International Baccalaureate. $54,985 ($39,200 USD).

Davies, Scott. 2019. SSHRC Partnership Engage “Educational Transitions as a Complex Contagion: Supporting a Mentoring Program for Inner City Youth” $24,979 (892-2019-2011).

Davies, Scott. 2019. Research Contract with Ontario Council for Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT): “Mapping Postsecondary Transfers Throughout Toronto: Building an Unprecedented Knowledge Base.” $133,000.

Aurini, Janice and Scott Davies. 2013-2018.” "A Multi-Method Examination of Summer Learning Inequality" SSHRC Insight Grant 435-2013-0730, $299,233.

Davies, Scott and Janice Aurini. 2010-13. “Measuring and Reducing Summer Setback in Ontario: A Multi-method Investigation of Inequalities in Student Achievement.” SSHRC Standard Research Grant 410-2010-1786. $90,090.

Honours and Awards

Editorial Boards:
- 2011-2014, American Educational Research Journal
- 2013-2016: Child Development Perspectives
- 2010-2012: Sociology of Education
- 2004 -2010: Associate Editor, Canadian Public Policy
- 2003-2006: Sociology of Education
- 2006-present: American Journal of Education
- 2001-2013: Sociological Inquiry
- 1998- 2000: Sociology of Education

2011: Visiting Scholar, University of Pennsylvania, January-May.

2006: Visiting Scholar, Harvard University, September-December.

2006: Invited Visiting Professor, University of Western Australia, January.

2002: June-July. Invited Professor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel (declined)

2001: Winner (with Neil Guppy) of R.W.B. Jackson Award for most outstanding English language article, Canadian Education Researchers Association, for “Understanding Canadians’ Declining Confidence in Public Education.”

2001: Jan-June. Visiting Professor, University of Toronto

2000: Sept-Dec. Visiting Scholar, Stanford Universit