Educational Psychology

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College of Education and Human Development wordmark.
Department of Educational Psychology wordmark.

Research topics: mathematical thinking

Investigating how people understand mathematics

Mathematics is the language of science, engineering, technology, finance, and many other professions and institutions. For these reasons, investigating how people understand mathematics, how to identify individuals who are exceptional or at-risk for difficulties, and how best to teach mathematics are critical questions for our researchers. We address these questions from a variety of perspectives in research projects spanning from the laboratory to the classroom to online contexts.

Faculty & staff

William Bart headshot
William Bart

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Dr. Bart (psychological foundations of education) investigates the cognitive and educational effects of origami training, a form of school-based instruction commonplace in Israel and East Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. Origami training facilitates understanding of key mathematical concepts in geometry such as shape congruence.

Theodore J. Christ headshot
Theodore J. Christ

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Dr. Christ (school psychology) develops robust online systems for monitoring and evaluating mathematics achievement in elementary school children.

Robin Codding headshot
Robin Codding

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Dr. Codding (school psychology) investigates the effectiveness of preventative and intensive intervention strategies for elementary and middle school children who are lagging behind their peers in mathematics. She also evaluates how data can be used to provide a more effective treatment match for students with mathematics difficulties.

Ernest Davenport headshot
Ernest Davenport

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Dr. Davenport (quantitative methods in education) is an educational statistician investigating group differences in standardized measures of mathematical achievement such as the ACT-Math test.

Robert delMas & Andrew Zieffler

Dr. delMas, and Zieffler (quantitative methods in education) are statistics education researchers investigating how students understand statistical concepts such as sampling variability and the logic of statistical inference. They are also developing innovative curricula for teaching statistics to college students from a modern, simulation-oriented perspective, as well as assessments for measuring students’ statistical reasoning and understanding.

Asha Jitendra headshot
Asha Jitendra

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Dr. Jitendra (special education) develops mathematical interventions such as schema-based instruction (SBI) for teaching elementary and middle school children to solve word problems. Using a geographically diverse sample of seventh-grade students and their teachers across several school districts in Florida and Utah, she is currently conducting a replication study to extend previous findings of the positive effects of the SBI approach in enhancing students’ proportional problem solving performance.

Geoffrey Maruyama headshot
Geoffrey Maruyama

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Dr. Maruyama (psychological foundations of education) examines whether or not standards-based grades in mathematics might provide better measures of college readiness than do traditional grades and standardized tests.

Sashank Varma headshot
Sashank Varma

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Dr. Varma (psychological foundations of education) is a cognitive scientist who conducts behavioral, lab-based studies investigating how people understand abstract mathematical concepts such as irrational numbers. He is currently developing measures of mathematical insight, mathematical intuition, and other abilities that may predict success in STEM disciplines in college.

Rose Vukovic headshot
Rose Vukovic

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Dr. Vukovic (special education) investigates the mathematical achievement and learning in minoritized students, including students from racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Courses

EPSY 8119 – Mathematical Cognition

Recent research in cognitive science is shedding new light on the long-standing question of how people understand mathematics. This course provides a review of this research. We read papers investigating how adults, children, and non-human primates understand fundamental mathematical concepts such as number, arithmetic, and algebra. The papers are drawn from the psychology, neuroscience, and education literatures.

EPSY 8271 – Statistics Education Research Seminar: Studies on Teaching and Learning Statistics

In this course, students review classic and current research related to the teaching and learning of statistics from the psychology, education, and statistics education literature. Each semester, the course focuses on a particular topic and set of related research questions (e.g., statistical thinking).

EPSY 8600 – Special Topics: Special Education Issues

In this course, current trends (e.g., school wide discipline, models of collaboration, and diversity) are investigated by formulating research projects. Students write a media piece describing an issue and its impact on the community.

EPSY 8816 - Individual and Systems Academic Interventions

Theories, research, and practice underlying instructional/academic interventions for students. Systems consultation, organizational change.

EPSY 8815 - Individual and System Socio-Emotional Interventions

Theories, research, and practice underlying socio-emotional interventions for students. Systems consultation/organizational change.