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Educational Psychology
250 Education Sciences Bldg
56 East River Road
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Voice: 612-624-6083

Educational Psychology
250 Education Sciences Bldg
56 East River Road
Minneapolis, MN
55455-0364 USA

Tel: 612-624-6083
Fax: 612-624-8241

Michael R. Harwell


Educational Psychology
176 EdSciB
56 East River Rd

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

My research interests are defined by three lines of work.  One focuses on the application of nonparametric statistics to data from complex research designs, and typically involves the use of computer simulation studies to examine the robustness of statistical estimators and tests.  A second line of research examines the role and impact of theoretical models of socioeconomic status (SES) and related measurement strategies in educational data analyses.  This work began with the observation that educational researchers often include one or more measures of SES as control variables when modeling educational outcomes but fail to provide a conceptual model of SES or a compelling rationale for the selection of particular SES measures.  Currently I am studying several conceptual, methodological, and empirical issues surrounding the use of commonly used SES measures.  A third line of research is based on work on National Science Foundation-funded grants studying the impact of students completing a particular high school mathematics curriculum on high school and college course-taking and performance especially in mathematics.  An important purpose of this work is to contribute research findings to debates over the efficacy of high school mathematics curricula that have pitted advocates of traditional curricula emphasizing repetition and teacher-centered learning against advocates of newer curricula that encourage problem solving and small group work.


  1. Harwell, M.R., Post, T.R., Medhanie, A., Dupuis, D.N., & LeBeau, B. A multi-institutional study of high school mathematics curricula and college mathematics achievement and course-taking.  Journal of Research in Mathematics Education (in press).

  2. Harwell, M.R. Multi-site studies and scaling up in educational research.  Educational Research Quarterly (in press).

  3. Medhanie, A., Dupuis, D.N., LeBeau, B., Harwell, M., & Post, T.R.  (2012).  The role of the ACCUPLACER mathematics placement test on a student’s first college mathematics course. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 72(2), 332-351.

  4. Harwell, M.R., Medhanie, A., Post, T.R., Norman, K. & Dupuis, D.  (2011). The preparation of students completing a Core-Plus or commercially developed high school mathematics curriculum for intense college mathematics coursework. Journal of Experimental Education, 80(1), 96-112.

  5. Harwell, M.R. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. (2011). In C. Conrad & R.C. Serlin (Eds.), The Sage handbook for research in education: Pursuing ideas as the keystone of exemplary inquiry (Second Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  6. Harwell, M.R., & LeBeau, B. (2010). Student eligibility for a free lunch as an SES measure in educational research.  Educational Researcher, 39, 120-131.

  7. Post, T.R., Medhanie, A., Harwell, M.R., Norman, K., Dupuis, D., Muchlinski, T., Anderson, E., & Monson, D. (2010).  Prior achievement, curse-taking patterns and persistence.  Journal of Research in Mathematics Education, 41, 274-308.

  8. Harwell, M.R., Post. T.P., Cutler, A., Maeda, Y., Anderson, E., Norman, K.W., & Medhanie, A.  The preparation of students from National Science Foundation-funded and commercially developed high school mathematics curricula for their first university mathematics course.  American Educational Research Journal, 46, 203-231.

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Revised November 27, 2013