The Achievement Research Lab is involved in a number of projects, some of which are described below. ARL is also involved in research through the following programs:

For more information on individual projects, click on the title of the project to visit its home page. Or, skip to the bottom of the page for information about our funding.

This project is a longitudinal, field-based study of the development of children's and adolescents’ self esteem, and activity preferences across four activity domains common to childhood experience: academic, social, instrumental music, and sport. The study was designed to look at four basic issues: 1) the development of self and task beliefs within and across domains, 2) the role of these beliefs in shaping children's behavioral choices across the domains, 3) the antecedents of parents' and teachers' beliefs about their children in each of these domains, and 4) the impact of parenting and teaching styles and of teacher and parent beliefs, values, and perceptions on children's developing self and task beliefs.

The study began in 1986, and has followed a sample of about 800 children, their parents and teachers for 13 years using both questionnaire and interview procedures. Objective measures of the children's competence in math, language arts, and sport/physical skill were obtained, as well as subjective indicators from teacher and parent ratings. Detailed information about the school and home social and material context were obtained from parents, children, and teachers. Although data collection on this study has ceased, analyses on the rich data that has been collected is ongoing.

This longitudinal study of adolescent development began in 1983 with a group of fifth and sixth graders recruited from 10 different school districts in Southeastern Michigan. In the spring of 1990, the sixth wave was collected for the 2,381 adolescents still remaining in our school districts. In 1992 and 1993, when our sample was approximately 20-21 years old, we gathered the seventh wave of information. We recontacted our sample in 1995 and again in 1999-2000 to update our information on their occupational, educational, and family status and to maintain contact with the sample for future follow-ups.

Analysis of the longitudinal data set has focused on the following general goals: (a) tracing the development of achievement-related beliefs, self perceptions and values, and psychological adjustment across the adolescent and early adult years; (b) assessing the impact of these beliefs, self perceptions, values, and psychological resources on adolescents' educational, occupational, and interpersonal life-task planning; on work and educational achievements; on leisure activity choices and participation; and on other life-role choices and outcomes during 18-29 year age period and (c) assessing the relation of social experiences and individual characteristics to adolescents' transition into young adulthood. Since the start of the study, we have obtained a greater understanding of how transitions into junior high, high school, college and/or the work place, and parenthood impacts the individual's development.

The Maryland Adolescent Development In Context Study was designed to collect information from an economically and ethnically diverse sample of adolescents and their families about the influences of multiple levels of social context on a wide range of developmental indicators. This longitudinal study of approximately 1400 African-American (61%) and European-American (35%) adolescents and their families began in Fall 1991 as the adolescents entered middle school. Five waves of data have been collected from the adolescents, their caregivers, older siblings, school personnel, school records, and the 1990 census databanks via in-home and telephone interviews and self-administered questionnaires. The data were collected when the youth were in grades 7, 8, 9, 11, and one-year post high school graduation. Data is currently being collected on a sixth wave, and analysis of these data is underway.

The project has five major goals: (1) providing a comprehensive description of various developmental trajectories through adolescence; (2) testing the utility of the Eccles et al. (1983) expectancy/value model of choice behavior and of self and identity theories for predicting individual differences in pathways through adolescence; (3) linking variations in these trajectories to experiences in four salient social contexts (family, peers, schools, neighborhood) in terms of the following contextual characteristics: (a) structure/control, (b) support for autonomy, (c) emotional support, (d) opportunities and risks, and (e) shared beliefs, values, and expectations, as well as on the developmental fit between changes in both individuals and contexts; (4) investigating the interplay between these social spheres of experience as they influence development in terms of the following cross-contextual characteristics and processes: (a) compatibility vs. discrepancy, (b) synergistic vs. compensatory influences, and (c) management of multiple contexts by parents, peers, and the adolescents themselves; and (5) extending our understanding of goals 1-4 to African-American adolescents with a focus on both general developmental processes and the specific dynamics associated with ethnic identity, prejudice, discrimination and social stratification.

The Social Identity Consortium is a working group funded by the Russell Sage Foundation (PIs=Diane Ruble, Kay Deaux, and Jacquelynne Eccles) to advance collaborative research and scholarship on social identity. The working group is comprised of scholars (mostly psychologists) from at least five colleges and universities nationwide, all of whom have established expertise in some area of research related to social identity. As a group, the consortium's efforts focus primarily on understanding the effects of social context on the willingness of immigrant, minority, and white citizens to identify with and engage behaviorally in government, community, educational institutions, work organizations, and families. The consortium operates with the assumption that peoples' identification with institutions may lead to their greater involvement in those institutions. Thus, the immediate goal of the consortium is to explicate the psychology of social identification through collaborative, interdisciplinary research efforts in a variety of social institutions; a secondary goal is to make recommendations for increasing peoples' engagement in institutions, particularly through social identity interventions.



Successful Pathways through Middle Childhood
To study the impact of a school intervention, family characteristics, and school characteristics on early adolescent development.
Risk and Promotive Effects on Adolescence Development
To collect data on and study a sample of 1400 African-American and European-American adolescents and their families, and to test the utility of the Eccles et al. framework for predicting adult role choices.
Identity and Activities
To analyze relations between personal and social identities, activity involvement and developmental trajectories, examine issues of ethnic identity and reactions to experiences of racial discrimination, and analyze family management as it relates to both activity involvement and the emergence and consolidation of personal and social identities.
Eccles & Davis-Kean
To participate in a consortium to analyze the impact of socio-emotional development, child-rearing practices, socio-economic status, decision-making process, and intergenerational transfer of information on child and adolescent development as they transfer into adulthood.
African-Americans in Higher Education
Chavous & Eccles
To study African-American adolescents as they enter and progress through college to gain a more comprehensive picture of students; experiences during this crucial developmental period.
Women, Minorities and Technology
Eccles & Davis-Kean
To test the utility of the psychological components of the Eccles et al. theoretical framework for understanding the psychological mediators of gender and ethnic group differences in activity and task choices related to entry into informational technology jobs and to test the utility of the socializational components of the Eccles et al. framework for understanding origins gender and ethnic group differences in psychological mediators in the first goal above.