Valerie E. Lee

Professor Emeritus

Valerie E. Lee, School of Education

Valerie E. Lee, EdD, professor of education in the School of Education, retired from active faculty status on June 30, 2011.

Lee received her bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Stanford University in 1959, her master of arts in education in 1981, and her doctoral degree in education, concentrating in administration, planning, and social policy, in 1985. She earned both of her graduate degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In 1985-86 she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Educational Testing Service in the Division of Statistical and Psychometric Research. Professor Lee was appointed assistant professor at the University of Michigan in 1986, promoted to associate professor in 1992, and promoted to professor in 1997.

Professor Lee taught courses in the sociology of education, program evaluation, and quantitative research methods. Her research focused on issues of educational equity, particularly on identifying characteristics of schools that make them simultaneously excellent and equitable. Much of this research was oriented to public policies that relate to education equity. Although much of her research has focused on secondary schools, she also studyied similar issues in the early grades. She defines "equity" in terms of socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and gender.

Lee's research has been published in books, journal articles, and reports. She has been awarded numerous grants from private and public sources. Besides her focus on U.S. schools, she studied schools effects in Brazil and sub-Saharan Africa. She won a 2008 Rackham Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award and in 2010 she was elected to the National Academy of Education.


Selected Publications

Allensworth, E., Nomi, T., Montgomery, N, and Lee, V.E. (2009). College Preparatory Curriculum for All: Consequences of Ninth-Grade Course Taking on Academic Outcomes in Chicago. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 31 (4), 367-391.

Lee, V.E., Franco, C., and Albernaz, A. (2009). Quality and Equality in Brazilian Secondary Schools: A Multilevel Cross-National School Effects Study. International Review of Comparative Sociology, 1(1), 25-61.

Lee, V.E. and Ready, D.D. (Spring 2009). The U.S. High School Curriculum: Three Phases of Contemporary Research and Reform.  The Future of Children, 19(1). 135-156.

Halvorsen, Anne-Lise, Lee, Valerie E., and Andrade, Fernando (2009). A Mixed-Method Study of Teachers’ Attitudes About Teaching in Urban and Low-Income Schools. Urban Education, 44(2), 181-224.

Burkam, D.T., Ready, D.D., LoGerfo, L.F., and Lee, V.E. (2008). The Differential Effects of Repeating Kindergarten.Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 12(2), 103-136.

Burkam, D.T., Michaels, D.L., and Lee, V.E. (2007). School Grade Span and Kindergarten Learning. Elementary School Journal, 107 (3), 287-303.

Lee, V.E., Burkam, D.T., Ready, D.D., Honigman, J.J., and Meisels, S.J.  (2006). Full-Day vs. Half-Day Kindergarten: In Which Program Do Children Learn More? American Journal of Education, 112 (1), 163-208.

Lee, V.E., Zuze, T.L., and Ross, K.N. (2005). School Effectiveness in 14 Sub-Saharan African Countries: Links With the Reading Achievement of Grade 6 Pupils. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 31(2/3), 209-246.           

Ready, D.D., LoGerfo, L.F., Lee, V.E., and Burkam, D.T. (2005). Explaining the Gender Gap in Literacy Learning: Do Classroom Behaviors Make a Difference? Elementary School Journal, 106 (1), 21-38.

Ready, D.D., Lee, V.E., & Welner, K.G. (2004). Educational equity and school structure: school size, overcrowding, and schools-within-schools. Teachers College Record, 106(10), 1989-2014.


2/9/2010 - 1/9/2011 Using PISA to Develop Activities for Teacher Education (UPDATE)
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

7/1/2006 - 6/30/2010 A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Effects of District-Wide High School Curriculum Reform on Academic Achievement and Attainment in Chicago - a University of Chicago grant
Granting Agency: University of Chicago

1/1/2007 - 12/31/2007 Curriculum Policy Effects on Math and Science Coursetaking, Achievement, and Preparation for College In Chicago Public High Schools - a University of Chicago/National Science Foundation grant
Granting Agency: University of Chicago/National Science Foundation