Educational Psychology

Skip to main content

Research lab: Theodore J. Christ


Innovation as it applies to cloud-based assessment and interventions.

  • Assessment and evaluation systems
  • Tools and techniques that inform practice in schools – especially related to problem solving and multi-tiered systems of support (ie; response to intervention)


  • Theodore J. Christ (Principal Investigator), Formative Assessment System for Teachers (FAST): Scale Up, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Stepping Up (CFDA 84.327S). Funded 2015-2020 (Award # XXX), $2.5 million for 5 years
  • Theodore J. Christ (Principal Investigator), Decision Rule Research Project: Curriculum Based Measurement in Reading, Institute for Educational Sciences, Goal 5: Measurement under Topic 1: Reading, Writing and Language (CFDA 84.324). Funded 2013-2017 (Award # R324A130161), $1.6 million for 4 years
  • Theodore J. Christ (Investigator) with Kristen McMaster (PI) and Erica Lemke (Co-PI), Supporting Teachers' Data-Based Instruction in Early Writing: Tools, Learning, and Collaborative Support. Institute for Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Goal 2: Reading, Writing and Language (CFDA 84.324). Funded 2013-2017 (Award # R324A130144), $1.5 million for 4 years
  • Theodore J. Christ (Principal Investigator), Computer Based Assessment System for Reading: Skills Analysis and Progress Monitoring, Institute for Educational Sciences, Goal 5: Measurement under Topic 1: Reading and Writing (CFDA 84.324). Funded 2012-2016 (Award # R305A120086), $1.6 million for 4 years


Formative Assessment System for Teachers Lab (FAST Labs). FAST Labs is dedicated to research, innovation and translation. FAST Lab is directed by Theodore J. Christ and coordinated by Mary Jane White. The primary contributors are graduate students in the School Psychology Program. The lab is focused to innovate and evaluate solutions for the challenges of today and tomorrow in education, especially as they relate to children at risk for deficits and disabilities. Historically, the focus was on the collection and use of data to guide school-based services. That focus remains as we begin to develop a complimentary focus on instruction/intervention.

FAST Lab originated with projects funded by the US Department of Education ($12.5 million). In the last decade, FAST Lab developed and validated two computer adaptive tests (aReading, aMath), Curriculum Based Measurements (CBM) for reading, CBMs for math, and measures of social-emotional-behavioral performance. In 2015, FAST Lab spun off FastBridge Learning (, which distributes and supports a commercial version of its research-based tools. In 2014-15, there were more than 4 million administrations of FAST assessments.

Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI). Theodore J. Christ is the Director of CAREI (see site for a description).

Research Institute for Problem Solving (RIPS). RIPS was established by Theodore J. Christ and Kristen McMaster to celebrate and continue the innovative and influential work that was started by Stan Deno, Jim Ysseldyke and others at the University of Minnesota in the 1970s. Their contributions to assessment, evaluation, problem solving, systems-level supports (which spanned RTI, MTSS), disability determination, and the scientist-practitioner model for educational professionals continues today through the work of many scholars at the University, which include faculty, staff and students.

"Can it be that we suppress our awareness of problems because we have lost all conviction that we can do anything about it?" - John W. Gardner

"We will make a difference in the lives of children by giving educators high-quality, efficient, and highly-effective evidence-based learning practices. If it is easy and it works, everyone will use it, all the time and everywhere."

Theodore J. Christ headshot

Theodore J. Christ

  • Director, Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI)
  • Director, Formative Assessment System for Teachers Lab (FAST Lab)
  • Co-director, Research Institute for Problem Solving
  • Professor, school psychology, Department of Educational Psychology

Research group

Mary Jane White headshot

Mary Jane White Research associate and project manager

Dr. Mary Jane White is a research associate and manages multiple federally-funded grants with Dr. Christ in his research lab. Her work includes development, testing, and dissemination of K-12 assessments with particular expertise constructing new assessments and learning modules. She earned her PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in reading comprehension.

Yvette Aranas
PhD student, school psychology

Yvette’s emerging expertise and research relate to data-base decision making, assessment and evaluation, especially reading and oral language development in the primary grades. Her work has focused on test development, item writing, and the development of a computer adaptive test of broad reading.

Calvary Diggs headshot

Calvary Diggs PhD student, school psychology

Calvary's emerging expertise and research experience relates to translating research in assessment-to-intervention practices to school settings. His work in lab has primarily focused on reading assessments, particularly those related to automaticity and comprehension.

Allyson Kiss headshot

Allyson J. KissDoctoral candidate, school psychology

Allyson’s research interests relate to how assessment, intervention, and motivational aspects of learning connect to inform data-based decision making in the area of mathematics. She is particularly interested in promoting early identification and intervention for students at-risk for mathematics difficulties. Her work in Ted's lab has involved test development, item writing, data collection and data analysis for curriculum based measures and computer adaptive tests.

Nicole M. McKevettPhD student, school psychology

Nicole graduated from Wayne State University with her Masters in School and Community Psychology and worked in the Detroit Metro area for three years as a school psychologist. She has returned to school to pursue her research interests in the areas of data-based decision making, with an emphasis on teachers' use of curriculum based measures to improve instruction for students who require intervention in both math and reading.

Gena Nelson headshot

Gena Nelson PhD student, special education

Gena’s emerging expertise and research relate to math, especially for students with deficits and disabilities. Notably, Gena has developed and validated a bundle of 10 subtests and a composite score for use to screen and monitor early math development.

Rachel Roesslein headshot

Rachel Roesslein PhD student, school psychology

Rachel’s research and interests relate to academic interventions in math, specifically for elementary level students. Her work has focused on video and resource development for teachers and school leaders focused on implementation of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for students.

Recent publications

Yeo, S., Cormier, D. C. & Christ, T. J. (in press). An Examination of the Relationship between Computation, Problem Solving, and Reading, Exceptionality, XX, XXX-XXX

Nelson*, P., Demers*, J. & Christ, T. J. (2014). The Responsive Environmental Assessment for Classroom Teaching (REACT): The dimensionality of student perceptions of the instructional environment, School Psychology Quarterly, 29, XXX-XXX.

Van Norman*, E. R., Christ, T. J., & Zopluoglu*, C. (2013). The effects of baseline estimation on the reliability, validity, and precision of estimates of growth of curriculum based measures of reading (CBM-R). School Psychology Quarterly, 28, 182-198.

Christ, T. J., Nelson*, P. M., Van Norman*, E. R., Chafouleas, S. M. & Riley-Tillman, T. C. & (2013). Direct Behavior Rating: An evaluation of time series interpretations as consequential validity, School Psychology Quarterly, 28, 157-170, doi: 10.1037/spq0000029

Recent chapters

Christ, T. J. van Norman*, E. R. & Nelson*, P. (2013). New directions in classical test theory using fluency metrics, In K. Cummings & Y. Petcher (Eds), The Fluency Construct (pp. XXX-XXX). New York: Springer

Christ, T. J., Marcotte, A., & Keller-Margulis, M. (2014). Basics of curriculum based assessment and Curriculum Based Measurement, In S.G. Little & A. Akin-Little (Eds.), Academic Assessment and Intervention (pp. XXX-XXX). New York: Routledge.

Hixson, M., Christ, T. J. & Bruni, T. (2014). Best practices in progress monitoring, In A. Thomas & P. Harrison (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology (pp. XXX-XXX). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists. Christ, T. J. & Arañas*, Y. A. (2014).

Best practices in problem analysis, In A. Thomas & P. Harrison (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology. (pp. XXX-XXX). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Recent test publications

Christ, T. J. & Nelson, G. (2012). Early Math Assessments (earlyMathTM, English Version): Eleven subtests of pre-reading and basic reading skills. Minneapolis, MN: Theodore J. Christ and Colleagues, LLC.

Christ, T. J. (2015/pending). Adaptive Reading (aReading TM): Kindergarten to Fifth Grade Measure for Skills Analysis and Progress Monitoring (computer adaptive test based on Common Core State Standards, 2010). Minneapolis, MN: Theodore J. Christ and Colleagues, LLC.