University of South Floroda College of Education
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Faculty Research Profiles: Sherman Dorn


Phone: 813-974-9482

Psychological and Social Foundations
4202 E. Fowler Avenue EDU105
Tampa, FL 33620

Research Biography

Sherman Dorn's work has had two broad themes:  the treatment of historically marginalized populations and the historical construction of education policy concerns. Major work:

  • Historical and social analysis of accountability policies (see 2007 book Accountability Frankenstein)
  • History of dropping out as a recognized social problem (2003 article and 1999 research note in History of Education Quarterly, 1996 book Creating the Dropout, and 2003 article in Education Policy Analysis Archives)
  • History of special education (for examples, see 2010 article in Exceptional Childen and 2002 article in History of Education Quarterly)

Dorn has collaborated on two larger projects. First, he was associate director of a Spencer-funded consortium on education reform in Florida that resulted in a 2004 article in American Educational Research Journal and the 2007 volume he coedited with Kathy Borman, Education reform in Florida. He was also a coeditor of the 2006 book Schools as imagined communities: The creation of identity, meaning, and conflict in U.S. history.

Trained primarily as an academic historian, Dorn has a masters in demography from the University of Pennsylvania, and his primary quantitative experience has been in using census microdata (generally from the U.S. but also from international censuses). He has generally programmed in SAS, though he is currently trying to learn R.


  • Ph.D., 1992, History, University of Pennsylvania
  • M.A., 1992, Demography, University of Pennsylvania
  • A.B., 1987, History, Haverford College


  • No active grants. Dr. Dorn has previously received an Initial Career Award as a P.I. from the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (1995-1999) and served as associate director of the Consortium for Educational Research in Florida funded by the Spencer Foundation (2001-2003). 

Selected Publications

  • Dorn, Sherman. 2013. "Is (digital) history more than an argument about the past?" In Writing history in the digital age, ed. Jack Dougherty & Kristen Nawrotzki. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Available at;rgn=div1;view=fulltext;xc=1#4.1
  • Dorn, Sherman. 2010. The political dilemmas of formative assessment. Exceptional Children, 76(3), 325-337.
  • Dorn, Sherman. 2009. Dropouts. In R.A. Scheder (Ed.), The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion (pp. 280-281). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Jennings, Jennifer L., and Sherman Dorn. 2008. The proficiency trap: New York City’s achievement gap revisited [online commentary]. Teachers College Record (September 08), ID Number: 15366.
  • Dorn, Sherman. 2007. Accountability Frankenstein: Understanding and taming the monster. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers.
  • Borman, Kathryn, and Sherman Dorn, eds. 2007. Education reform in Florida.  Albany:  State University of New York Press.
  • Artiles, Arturo, Elizabeth B. Kozleski, Sherman Dorn, and Carol Christensen. 2006. Learning in inclusive education research:  Re-mediating theory and methods with a transformative agenda. Review of Research in Education 30: 65-108.
  • Dorn, Sherman, Deirdre Cobb-Roberts, and Barbara Shircliffe, eds. 2006. Schools as imagined communities: The creation of identity, meaning, and conflict in U.S. history. New York:  Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Dorn, Sherman.  2002.  Public-private symbiosis in Nashville special education.  History of Education Quarterly 32, 3 (Fall):  368-94.
  • Dorn, Sherman, and Erwin V. Johanningmeier.  1999.  Dropping out and the military metaphor.  History of Education Quarterly 39:  193-98.
  • Dorn, Sherman.  1998.  The political legacy of school accountability systems.  Education Policy Analysis Archives 6, 1 (entire issue).  Available online:
  • Dorn, Sherman. 1996. Creating the dropout: An institutional and social history of school failure. Westport, CT: Praeger.
  • Dorn, Sherman. 1993. Origins of the "dropout problem."  History of Education Quarterly 33: 353-373.

Areas of Interest/Expertise

  • Policy Analysis
  • Historical Research
  • Social Foundations of Education
  • Policy
  • Marginalized Students within Educational Bureaucracies
  • History of Ed
  • Special Education
  • Higher Education
  • Secondary/High School
  • Post-Secondary
  • Adolescence