Educational Psychology

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Research lab: Scott McConnell


  • Skills and competencies that enable pre-school aged children to learn and participate in school and other settings, particularly for children with disabilities and other factors that might otherwise be at risk
  • Design, evaluation, and application of:
    • Easy-to-use tools for describing children’s current language, literacy, and other important skills
    • Interventions that support development of these skills, particularly in “non specialized” settings
    • Design and improvement of programs – from classroom efforts to comprehensive community-wide efforts – that help children of all ages develop fully


Early Learning Labs | myIGDIs

myIGDIs are a set of research-based assessment measures that enable early childhood educators and parents to monitor their children's early literacy development.

Individual Growth and Development Indicators: Automated Applications for Performance Evaluation of Early Literacy (IGDI-APEL)

This project will design, test and evaluate the feasibility, usability and promise of IGDI-APEL, a tablet-device application that provides a comprehensive early literacy RTI experience for early childhood educators.

Past projects

Iowa Department of Education Statewide TIER Pre-K Assessment

The Effects of an Online Data-Based Language Intervention Decision-Making System for Professionals Serving At-Risk Infants and Toddlers

This project evaluates empirically the efficacy of a software-based assessment, intervention design, and monitoring system for home visiting interventions designed to promote language development among young children living in poverty and with special needs.

Family Academy: Infants and Toddlers

Family Academy is a parent education and empowerment program for families with children aged 0-3 designed specifically for families in the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ). Its purpose is to start early by empowering parents to get their kids ready for kindergarten and on the pathway to college and life-long success. It has three components: 1) family engagement and empowerment; 2) a 13-week family-focused curriculum; 3) social support for families. The program is family-focused and strengths-based.

"I think of myself as a researcher who works in, and with, 'the community.' I care deeply about conducting rigorous, carefully crafted research projects...and at the same time, producing information, measures, and procedures that parents, teachers, and others value and can use. This means careful attention to the questions my research asks. It means making sure that the products of our work are easy to use and address important issues. And it means that we share the results of our work to the right audiences in ways they value."

Scott McConnell headshot

Scott McConnell

Research group

Erin Lease headshot

Erin Lease PhD graduate student, early childhood special education

Erin is a research associate with the Human Capital Research Collaborative at the University, where she manages research related to the Child-Parent Center Expansion Project. She has strong interest in ways that technology can be adapted or leveraged to promote positive interactions between parents and young children, and in the evaluation of programs that include these kinds of innovations.

Recent publications

Wackerle-Hollman, A., Rodriguez, M., Bradfield, T., Rodriguez, M., & McConnell, S., (2015). Development of early measures of comprehension: Innovation in Individual Growth and Development Indicators. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 40 (2), 81 – 95. (Published online 26 September 2014; DOI: 10.1177/1534508414551404).

Carta, J. J., Greenwood, C. R., Atwater, J., McConnell, S. R., Goldstein, H. & Kaminski, R. (In press). Identifying preschool children for higher tiers of language and early literacy instruction within a Response to Intervention framework. Journal of Early Intervention, 36, 281 – 291. doi:10.1177/1053815115579937 (Published online on April 7, 2015)

Greenwood, C. R., Carta, J. J., Goldstein, H., Kaminski, R., McConnell, S. R., & Atwater, J. (In press). The Center on Response to Intervention in Early Childhood (CRTIEC): Developing evidence-based tools for a multi-tier approach to preschool language and early literacy instruction. Journal of Early Intervention, 36, 246 – 262. doi:10.1177/1053815115581209

McConnell, S. R., Wackerle-Hollman, A. K., Bradfield. T. A., & Rodriguez, M. C. (2015). Designing a measurement framework for Response to Intervention in early childhood programs. Journal of Early Intervention, 36, 263 – 280. (Published online 7 April 2015,) DOI: 10.1177/1053815115578559.

McConnell, S. R., Wackerle-Hollman, A., & Bradfield, T. (2014). Universal early literacy screening. In R. Kettler, T. Glover, C. Albers & Feeney-Kettler (Eds.), Universal screening in educational settings: Identification, implications, and interpretation (pp. 141 – 170). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

McConnell, S. R., & Rahn, N. L. (In press). Assessment. In S. L. Odom, B. Reichow, E. Barton, and B. Boyd (Eds.), Handbook of Early Childhood Special Education. New York: Springer.