As a professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, Berends directs the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO). He has published and lectured extensively on educational reform, school choice, the effects of family and school changes on student outcomes, and the effects of schools and classrooms on student achievement.  His research focuses on how school organization and classroom instruction are related to student performance, with special attention to disadvantaged students and school reforms aimed at improving their educational opportunities. Within this agenda, he has applied a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods to understand the effects of school reforms on teachers and students.

Currently, Berends is conducting several studies on school choice, including an examination of the nation’s largest school voucher program, parent decision making and satisfaction in a lottery-based study of charter schools, and how in-school enabling conditions and classroom instruction are related to student achievement gains in charter, private, and traditional public schools.  Berends serves on numerous editorial boards, technical panels, and policy forums. He is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and a former vice president of the American Educational Research Association's Division L, Educational Policy and Politics. He is a former co-editor of AERA’s American Educational Research Journal and of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. He also served as the AERA Program Chair for the 2014 annual meeting. His latest books are School Choice and School Improvement (Harvard Education Press, 2011), School Choice at the Crossroads: Research Perspectives (Routledge, 2019), the Handbook of Research on School Choice, 1st and 2nd Editions (Routledge, 2009, 2020), and the International Handbook of the Sociology of Education (SAGE, forthcoming).
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1992
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Sociology of Education, Educational Policy, Research Methods, Stratification and Inequality, Work, Economy and Organization
Personal Interests
Cooking, exercise, reading, bee-keeping