Educational Psychology

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Research topics: opportunity gaps

Working toward greater educational equity

Our researchers study educational outcomes and disparities and strive to improve how we identify and serve students who need additional supports in order to succeed in schools.

Faculty and researchers

William Bart headshot

William Bart Email | Lab

Dr. Bart (psychological foundations of education) investigates the educational and psychological effects of chess training, a form of school-based instruction commonplace in Europe but quite rare in Minnesota. One meta-analysis determined that in-class chess training had a positive and statistically significant effect on mathematics attainment and cognitive ability measures and that after school chess training had a positive and statistically significant impact on mathematics attainment. Because of its positive effect on cognitive ability, chess training has the potential to promote general gains in scholastic achievement across reading, mathematics, and science.

Theodore J. Christ headshot

Theodore J. Christ Email | Lab

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

Panayiota Kendeou headshot

Panayiota Kendeou Email | Lab

Dr. Kendeou (psychological foundations of education) investigates the development of higher-order language and cognitive skills that support reading comprehension. She also conducts lab-based studies investigating how people learn new knowledge and revise pre-existing knowledge during their reading experiences.

Geoffrey Maruyama headshot

Geoffrey Maruyama Email | Lab

Dr. Maruyama (psychological foundations of education) investigates achievement processes in schools, particularly social processes and antecedents of educational success; research methods for educational and other applied settings; and, recently, using action research approaches in challenged communities and engaged scholarship in urban settings. His First in the World grant focuses on engaging college students from groups under-represented in post-secondary education in activities linking their learning with communities and their issues, with a goal of increased engagement at the post-secondary institution and sense of belonging, and improved performance and persistence. The project works across six universities.

Michael Rodriguez headshot

Michael Rodriguez Email

Dr. Rodriguez (quantitative methods in education) is the dean of the College of Education and Human Development, Campbell Leadership Chair, and co-director of the Educational Equity Resource Center. His research focuses on understanding the psychometric properties of tests. This work has included research on the effects of item formats and the use of constructed-response versus multiple-choice items. Dr. Rodriguez has a strong interest in applied measurement, spending a good deal of time working with schools and school districts to develop methods for improving their use of large-scale test information for planning and evaluation. He also works on issues related to improving accessibility of assessment of students with disabilities and English language learners.

Amanda Sullivan headshot

Amanda Sullivan Email | Lab

Dr. Sullivan (school psychology) focuses her research on describing special needs among children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and understanding the educational and health services they receive. She is particularly interested in elucidating disparities in the educational treatment and outcomes of students with and at-risk for disabilities and identify malleable factors related to outcomes in order to inform policy and practice to better support students’ educational needs. Much of her work entails secondary analyses of large-scale datasets that allow for population estimates of students’ characteristics, experiences, and outcomes.

Sherri Turner headshot

Sherri Turner Email

Dr. Turner (counseling and student personnel psychology) studies ways to address disparities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) among college students, youth living in the inner-cities, and Native American youth. She also studies relationships between counseling, cultural engagement and Native American adolescents’ academic achievement and college-decidedness.

Alisha Wackerle-Hollman headshot

Alisha Wackerle-Hollman Email

Dr. Wackerle-Hollman (school psychology) is a senior research associate and PI for Spanish Individual Growth and Development Indicators (S-IGDIs). S-IGDIs is a project designed to develop and evaluate Spanish measures of early literacy designed for Spanish-English bilinguals. Dr. Wackerle-Hollman also has a strong interest in community based participatory research, and as a result, she is currently a Co-PI on two Family Academy projects within the federally funded promise neighborhood in North Minneapolis (Northside Achievement Zone) where her work centers around developing robust, evidence-based practices in parenting intervention.


EPSY 5101 - Intelligence and Creativity

Contemporary theories of intelligence and intellectual development and contemporary theories of creativity and their implications for educational practices and psychological research.

EPSY 5157 - Social and Developmental Psychology of Education

Overview of social psychology and its application to education. Participants study the major theories, research, and major figures in field. Class sessions include lectures, discussions, simulations, role-plays, and experiential exercises.

EPSY 5135 - Human Relations Workshop

Experiential course addressing issues of prejudice and discrimination in terms of history, power, and social perception. Includes knowledge and skills acquisition in cooperative learning, multicultural education, group dynamics, social influence, effective leadership, judgment and decision-making, prejudice reduction, conflict resolution.

EPSY 5851 - Engaging Diverse Students and Families

Theoretical, practical, scientific issues involved in school psychological practice/training/research. Theoretical/empirical bases for developing appropriate dispositions, practices, strategies. Illustrative lectures, discussions, group activities, case studies, presentations.

EPSY 8116 – Reading for Meaning

This course draws provides a review of reading research from the fields of psychology, education, and cognitive sciences. In this course students gain an understanding of the cognitive processes that take place during comprehension and of the development of these processes. They also explore the applications and implications of this knowledge for educational practice, including instruction and assessment.

EPSY 8832 - Advanced Practicum in School Psychology

Supervised experience in assessment and intervention planning of children referred to psychoeducational settings; training in broad range of approaches to problems of adjustment in school-age children and their families, schools, and community settings.

EPSY 8811 - Assessment in School Psychology I: Foundations of Academic Assessment

Theories and models of psychoeducational assessment of children and adolescents within home, school, and community. Conceptual and empirical foundations of ecobehavioral assessment that lead to efficient but comprehensive assessment of children presented from problem-solving perspective.

EPSY 8812 - Assessment in School Psychology II: Intellectual and Social-Emotional Domains

Builds on EPsy 8811. Emphasizes gathering data on a child's intellectual and social-emotional functioning and educational progress.

EPSY 8815 - Behavioral and Social Emotional Prevention and Intervention

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

EPSY 8817 - Problem Analysis and Consultation in School Psychology

Practical application of applied behavioral theory guided by system ecological perspectives in problem-solving with school staff, parents, and students. Theories, stages, and issues of providing indirect services through consultation. Critical analysis of theory and research. Applied project in 8813 practicum placements.