Amy Claessens, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Amy Claessens, an assistant professor at Chicago Harris, studies education, child development, and public policy. Her work investigates how policies and programs influence child development and how early achievement and socioemotional skills relate to subsequent life outcomes. Claessens's work uses administrative or large-scale longitudinal data and utilizes both quantitative and qualitative techniques.

Claessens has investigated a wide-range of issues surrounding child development and public policy including an experimental work support program and how achievement and socioemotional skills at school entry relate to later school achievement. This research on school readiness was featured in the New York Times. Much of Claessens's research examines how out-of-home contexts such as child care, preschool, and school influence child well being. Her dissertation, "The Development and Determinants of Academic and Socioemotional Skills in Middle Childhood," examined how achievement and socioemotional skills develop and interrelate over the course of elementary school and how school-age child care experiences influenced this development. Claessens received a Child Care Bureau Dissertation Research Scholar Grant to fund a portion of her dissertation. She also has examined school reform and school choice policies in the Chicago Public Schools. She has recently begun investigating early childhood policy in Australia in conjunction with the Australian Government, focusing on universal preschool and early child care experiences.

Claessens holds a PhD in human development and social policy from Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy. Prior to joining the faculty at the Harris School, Claessens was a postdoctoral scholar at the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy at the University of Chicago.