Educational Psychology

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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 and staff

William Bart headshot

William Bart

Email | Lab

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.

Ernest Davenport headshot

Ernest Davenport


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.

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.

Robert delMas and 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.

Sashank Varma headshot

Sashank Varma

Email | Lab

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

Email | Lab

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


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 - Academic Prevention and Intervention

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

EPSY 8815 - Behavioral and Social Emotional Prevention and Intervention

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