About Us

The Adolescent Transitions Lab at the University of Michigan examines the development of achievement beliefs and behavior, particularly from middle childhood through early adolescence, and the role of the social setting (schools, classrooms, peer groups) in explaining different patterns of change across time.

Some topics we are currently investigating include:

  • Motivation, Engagement and Achievement: Many of us are interested in students’ self-perceptions and emerging identity around academics and social relationships. Some topics we investigate are students’ academic and social goals, self-efficacy, values, engagement, help-seeking behaviors and achievement.
  • Teachers and the Classroom Climate: We are interested in teacher practices that create a motivating and socially inclusive setting for early adolescent students. Some issues we are currently examining are how teachers’ manage peer relations in the classroom and create positive peer ecologies for learning.
  • Peer Relationships: We are interested in the different ways that peers matter for students’ adjustment at school. Some issues that we are currently examining are: how students’ friendship networks change over time and affect academics, how the nature of social status changes during early adolescence and what contributes to whether a student feels like they belong in their classrooms and schools.
  • The Transition to Middle School: We are interested in how middle school settings affect social and academic adjustment of students and what programs and policies can best support development during adolescence.