CEHD News Department news

CEHD News Department news

Educational Psychology presents 15 times at CRIEI

Faculty, researchers, and students across the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology, special education, and quantitative methods in education programs presented 15 times at this year’s Conference on Research Innovations in Early Intervention (CRIEI).

The event was held in San Diego, California on March 1-3 2018 and showcased new research on interventions for young children with disabilities or those at risk for developmental delays and their families. Posters from the event will be on display throughout the Education Sciences Building in the coming weeks.

 Posters presentations

  • Integrating and Sustaining Evidence Based Practices in the Community: A LENA Start™ Example

*Marianne Elmquist, *Erin Lease, and Scott McConnell

  • Measuring and Evaluating Team-Based Problem Solving: A Means for Crossing the “Data Use” Chasm?

LeAnne Johnson, *Andrea Ford, *Maria Hugh, and *Brenna Rudolph

  • Developing a Prosocial Teacher Rating Scale for Universal Screening in Preschool and Kindergarten

Kristen Missall, Scott McConnell, Salloni Nanda, and Ellina Xiong

  • Investigating the Psychometric and Content Characteristics of Common Items Across Languages: Spanish and English Picture Naming Early Literacy Assessments

*Qinjun Wang, *Jose Palma, Alisha Wackerle-Hollman, and Michael Rodriquez

  • Investigating the Relationship between Performance Variation in an Early Comprehension Task and Student Demographic Background

*Kelsey Will, *Qinjun Wang, *Erin Lease, and Alisha Wackerle-Hollman

  • Measuring Child Engagement: What’s in a Definition?

Veronica Fleury, *Pang Xiong, *Maria Hugh, and *Andrea Ford

  • What’s in a Name: Exploring Children’s Alternate Responses to Picture Naming

Alisha Wackerle-Hollman, Robin Hojnoski, Kristen Missall, Scott McConnell, Elizabeth Boyd, and Sana Hussein

  • Translating Evidence-Based Practices into Routine Practices with Young Children with Autism

*Andrea Ford, LeAnne Johnson, and Veronica Fleury

  • Measuring and Defining Engagement for Young Children with Developmental Disabilities During Free Play: A Systematic Review.

*Maria Hugh, Veronica Fleury, and LeAnne Johnson

  • Online Learning Environments for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A statewide perspective on implications and issues for early identification and service delivery.

*Maci Spica and LeAnne Johnson

  • Progress Monitoring in Early Childhood Special Education: In Search of Current Trends & Future Needs

*Brenna Rudolph & *Maria Hugh

Panel presentations

  • Child Engagement: Defining, Measuring, Analyzing, and Other Issues of the Chicken and Egg Sort

LeAnne Johnson, Robin McWilliam, and Kevin Sutherland

  • Battling Pseudoscientific approaches to “Treating” Autism: The Role of the Research Scientist

Veronica Fleury, Ilene Schwartz, and Elizabeth Pokorski

  • How long Do We Have? Speeding Development and Deployment of Meaningful Solutions

Scott McConnell, Charles Greenwood, Jomella Thompson-Watson

  • Classroom Quality for Dual Language Learners and the Relationship to Growth in English and Spanish

Lillian Duran, Alisha Wackerle-Hollman, and Maria Cristina Limlingan


*Denotes current or past student

Bolded names denote Educational Psychology faculty, staff or researchers

Kendeou gives talks on reading comprehension at University of Padova, Italy

Panayiota (Pani) Kendeou

Panayiota (Pani) Kendeou, Guy Bond Chair in Reading and associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s psychological foundations of education program, traveled to the University of Padova, Italy from March 12-17 to present her research on reading comprehension.

Kendeou discusssed the development of technology language comprehension interventions (projects TeLCI/ELCII) as well as the science of debunking misconceptions and fake news. The talks took place in the Department of Developmental and Socialization Psychology and were hosted by Professors Lucia Mason (Director of the EdPsych Lab) and Barbara Arfe (Director of the Learning Lab for Deaf Children).

The University of Padova was established in 1222 and has been home to astronomers Copernicus and Galileo and the first woman in the world to receive a doctoral degree (1678, Elena Cornaro).

For more information on Kendeou’s research related to language and memory with a focus on understanding and improving learning during reading, visit her Reading + Language Lab site.



School psych Ph.D. student awarded fellowship to prevent child abuse and neglect

Sophia Frank, Ph.D. student in the school psychology program in the Department of Educational Psychology, has been awarded a Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-being from the University of Chicago.

The fellowship recognizes emerging leaders capable of creating practice and policy initiatives that will enhance child development and improve the national ability to prevent all forms of child maltreatment.

Frank will receive an annual stipend of $30,000 for up to two years to support her dissertation and related research with her advisor John W. and Nancy E. Peyton Faculty Fellow in Child and Adolescent Wellbeing and Associate Professor Clayton Cook.

Frank was one of only 15 doctoral students across the country to receive the fellowship.

Im to present theory on arithmetic sense at 2018 Doctoral Research Showcase

Soo-hyun Im

Soo-hyun Im, Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Psychology’s psychological foundations of education program, will present his research on “The development of arithmetic sense and its predictive relationship to mathematical achievement” at the Graduate School’s 2018 Doctoral Research Showcase. Im is one of only 59 Ph.D. students University-wide to present at the showcase which takes place April 3 from 12-2 p.m. in Coffman Memorial Union’s Great Hall.

Learn more about Im’s research and graduate school experience in Educational Psychology.

CSPP students participate in Polar Plunge to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota

On Saturday, March 3, graduate students from the Department of Educational Psychology’s counseling and student personnel psychology (CSPP) program dove into Lake Calhoun’s icy waters to support Special Olympics Minnesota. Several students raised money for the plunge, including: Michael Rask, Rikki Hemstad, Drew Wandschneider, Brandon Forcier, Addison Novak, Sarah Sorenson, Shelby McCabe, and Melissa Derby (’17 CSPP alum).

Nearly all of the current CSPP student body supported this year’s Polar Plunge through donations, and many came to Lake Calhoun to cheer on their classmates. The group raised a total of $2,169 to support Special Olympics.

Congratulations and great work to all of our CSPP Polar Plunge participants!

Students present research at 2018 GSRD

The 18th Annual Educational Psychology Graduate Student Research Day (GSRD) was held on March 2, 2018 to celebrate outstanding student accomplishments in research. GSRD provides an opportunity for graduate students to present their research and to be recognized by peers and faculty.

The event took place in the Mississippi Room in Coffman Memorial Union and featured four student research paper presentations and 34 posters on display with students available for Q&A. Faculty and peers were able to walk around and learn more about the variety of research taking place within the department.

GSRD is a well-attended and well-recognized event at the University of Minnesota, and the Department of Educational Psychology continues to be pleased with the excellent work students produce on their research accomplishments.

View the 2018 GSRD program for more information on presentation and program topics.

Golos receives $1.2 million grant to train teachers to support Deaf/Hard of Hearing children and those with disabilities

Debbie Golos, Ph.D.

Debbie Golos, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s special education program and coordinator of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) teaching licensure and M.Ed., has been awarded $1.2 million over five years by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

Project PACT: Preparation about Collaborative Teaching, offers funding to support future Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) teachers. In partnership with Kathy Seifert—learning disabilities licensure and M.Ed. coordinator—and Professor Kristen McMaster, Project PACT will also offer funding to graduate students in the Academic and Behavioral Strategist (ABS) program. Students interested in interdisciplinary approaches to teaching will receive funding throughout their teacher preparation and master’s degree program and will participate in cross collaborative activities supporting school age Deaf and Hard of Hearing children and those with disabilities.

More information on Project PACT.

McMaster, colleagues receive Samuel A. Kirk award for article on data-based decision-making

Kristen McMaster

Kristen McMaster, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s special education program, was recently recognized for her article, “Data-based decision-making: Developing a method for capturing teachers’ understanding of CBM graphs.” The article—led by Christine Espin, professor of learning problems and specialized interventions at Leiden University and co-authored by Stan Deno, professor emeritus in the Department of Educational Psychology until his passing in 2017 and others—received the prestigious Samuel A. Kirk award for best research article published in 2017. Named for one of the United States’ most impactful leaders in the field of special education and learning disabilities, this award is occasionally given to a journal article published in Learning Disabilities Research & Practice that exhibits excellence.

McMaster accepted the Samuel A. Kirk award on behalf of herself and her colleagues at the Council for Exceptional Children’s Annual Conference in Tampa Bay, Florida, February 7-10. In recognition of their efforts, the researchers received a plaque and a small monetary award.

ACT prep program, Davenport featured in MN Daily

Ernest Davenport

In 1991, Ernest Davenport, now an associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Educational Psychology, started a free ACT prep program to help underrepresented high school students prepare for the ACT. Supported by grants and volunteers, the program is a partnership with the University of Minnesota chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African American men.

27 years after founding the program, Davenport is stepping down from his leadership role, a transition that was highlighted in a recent article by the Minnesota DailyFraternity’s ACT prep program finds its footing. Davenport is confident that the program will continue without him. He told the Daily, “Many participants in the program end up leading it later on which is unique.”

Thank you, Dr. Davenport, for your continued work toward educational equity in our communities!

Kendeou gives talk at University of Quebec on science of debunking misconceptions

Panayiota (Pani) Kendeou, Guy Bond Chair in Reading and associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s psychological foundations of education program, recently traveled to Quebec to present her research surrounding the science of debunking misconceptions. The talk took place Jan. 24 at the University of Quebec in Montreal and was part of a series sponsored by the University of Quebec’s Team for Research in Science and Technology Education (EREST) and Concordia University’s Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance.

Learn more about Kendeou’s research on debunking misconceptions:

For more on Kendeou’s research related to language and memory with a focus on understanding and improving learning during reading, visit her Reading + Language Lab site.

Reading + Language Lab to present five times at AERA

Five proposals from students and researchers in the Reading + Language Lab have been accepted as presentations at American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting, April 13-17 in New York City.

The presentations—focused on knowledge revision and reading comprehension—are listed below:

  • *Trevors, G., Bohn-Gettler, C., *Mohsen, B., & Kendeou, P. (April, 2018). The effects of inducing emotions on knowledge revision processes. Paper to be presented at a Symposium on Reducing the Impact of Misconceptions to the Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, USA.
  • *Trevors, G. & Kendeou, P. (April, 2018). Revision failure: Integrating cognitive and motivational theories. Poster to be presented to the Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, USA.
  • *Mohsen, B., & Kendeou, P. (April, 2018). Argument Evaluation, Reading Strategies, and Opinion Change in the Digital Environment. Paper to be presented at a Symposium on Digital Reading at the American Educational Research Association’s Annual Meeting, New York, NY.
  • *Butterfuss, R., *Bresina, B., *Wagner, K., Kendeou, P., & McMaster, K. (April, 2018). The relation between executive function and inference making. Poster to be presented at the American Educational Research Association’s Annual Meeting, New York, NY.
  • *Butterfuss, R., *Kim, J., *Salovich, N., *Trevors, G., & Kendeou, P. (April, 2018). The effects of emotional content on knowledge revision: An eye-tracking study. Poster to be presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New York, NY.

*denotes current or past student

About the Reading + Language Lab

Panayiota (Pani) Kendeou

The Reading + Language Lab is led by Panayiota (Pani) Kendeou, Guy Bond Chair in Reading and associate professor in the Department of Educational psychology. The lab examines the relationship between language and memory, with an emphasis on understanding and improving learning during reading. The lab also develops and applies technology-based interventions and assessments.

McMaster, colleagues receive AEI’s Honorable Mention Award

Kristen McMaster, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s special education program, and her co-authors Cynthia Puranik, Melissa Patchan, and Mary Sears, recently received the Honorable Mention Award from Assessment for Effective Intervention (AEI) for their article, “Examining Alphabet Writing Fluency in Kindergarten: Exploring the Issue of Time on Task.”

The researchers’ paper received the second most votes from the journal’s board for Article of the Year, earning the Honorable Mention Award which is given to researchers who contribute to the advancement of the science of assessment to inform intervention in schools.

McMaster and her colleagues will receive will their award at the upcoming business meeting of the Council for Educational Diagnostic Services, held during the annual convention of the Council for Exceptional Children in Tampa, Florida, February 7–10.


Q&A with Hannah Boldt, CSPP student

Hannah Boldt head shot
Hannah Boldt

Hannah Boldt didn’t always know she wanted to be a counselor. Initially, she pursued a degree as a saxophone player. She switched her major to international studies with the intention of working in international aid in West Africa, however upon graduation found a career in the software and I.T. sector where she worked for four years. Now a second-year counseling and student personnel psychology (CSPP) student, Hannah is excited to finally be on her path to becoming a counselor or therapist.

She says it was her own winding road to find her passion that drew her to the field of career counseling and personal therapy.

“I want to normalize the student experience of not knowing what to do, or graduating in something and not using it,” Hannah says.

We sat down with Hannah and asked her a few questions about her experience as a CSPP student and what insights she’d like to share with other prospective students. Here’s what she said:

What surprised you along the way?

“I was surprised at the amount of emotional energy it takes to be a counselor. I knew what I was getting into, but my expectations weren’t prepared for the amount of personal reflection and growth I would be doing. Overall, I’ve experienced a lot of emotional growth.”

What’s something you’ve most enjoyed about your experience?

“I was ready to be back in school and learning, after taking 4 years off in between my undergrad and master’s. I came in with the expectation to be a sponge and take in everything. It’s been so exciting and exhilarating to learn more about the field of psychology and counseling.”

How would you describe the student experience and what does that mean to you?

“In CEHD as a whole, I’ve been impressed with the opportunities for engagement. Every day, there’s a different talk or seminar going on and it feels like there’s a spirit of engagement and learning. Sometimes I think I signed up for a little too much. I’m working three jobs and go to school full time.”

How have your professors helped you along the way?

“All three of my professors in the CSPP program have gone above and beyond their role. It seems like they take a vested interest in my growth as an individual and professional. I work with Dr. Ohrtman doing clinical placements and she is communicative and dedicated to connecting, networking, and helping me professionally. My adviser, Dr. Howard, helped me with the emotional journey transitioning from work and adjusting to a graduate program. She also suggested that my practicum be with Student Counseling Services, which has challenged me to grow outside my comfort zone. Lastly, Dr. Berger has been always accessible and an excellent advocate to better the program.”

What would you like prospective students to know?

“Grad school is tough. Also, it’s incredibly worthwhile. I’ve been challenged to grow as a person and define my values and what I stand for. In the counseling program, I appreciate the advocacy element. It’s not just having these values, but the responsibility to take action. You have to be prepared to do emotional work and self reflection. As a result, you will grow as an individual and come into your own.”

How has your cohort helped you along the way?

“My cohort has been so helpful and important to me. There’s 35 of us, but we have a strong bond because we are all going through the process of discovering ourselves and the profession together. We all came in with different experiences, and it’s helpful to have people to lean on when things get tough and to normalize the experience.”

What are you looking forward to with graduation?

“Having a job that I look forward to going to and getting paid for something I love doing, is what I’m most excited for. I’m ready to use what I’ve learned and put it into practice. It’s great to feel like I’ve arrived at what feels like my ‘calling’ after 27 years of wondering what I was meant to do as a professional.”

This post was originally written by Ciara Metzger.


Instructor profile: Ginny Zeyer, special ed D.D. supervisor and adviser

Virginia (Ginny) Zeyer head shot
Virginia (Ginny) Zeyer

Ginny Zeyer started her special education career at 16 years old, babysitting a child with autism. Her drive and willingness to learn led her to earn licenses in every disability, develop work and transition programs, alternative education, and administration. Now, she finds herself as a supervisor of the developmental disabilities (DD) program at the University of Minnesota.

Growing up, Ginny thought she wanted to be an elementary teacher.

“The more I worked in special education, the more passionate I got. I saw an opportunity for how much more we could be doing as educators.”

She continues, “There’s so much you can do in special education. You can teach disabilities, build curriculum, develop programs in schools. I’ve written grants to help at-risk students in a work program and had the opportunity to start a new alternative education school.”

In the Department of Educational Psychology, Ginny loves working with younger teachers.
“It’s nice to feel like I have so much impact on them from my background and experiences. I give them ideas, and they give me ideas. I’m constantly learning, and the students here are very appreciative.” Zeyer says.

Ginny’s advice to students: “Take advantage of all the learning that happens in the classroom. It will prepare you to have a successful teaching experience. Also, build relationships with your professors. It will help you progress through all the skills you need, and they know what skills you need.”

Outside of work, Ginny enjoys cooking and trying new recipes (chicken piccata, creme brule, sweet potato gnocchi, etc.). She also enjoys spending time with her 19 year old grandson who lives in the Twin Cities.

This article was originally written by Ciara Metzger.

Turner awarded grant to encourage more Native Americans to become engineers

Sherri Turner

Sherri Turner, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s counseling and student personnel psychology program, was recently awarded a two-year, $100,000 grant by the National Science Foundation. Her project, “Native Americans: An Exploratory Study Pinpointing the Factors That Influence Their Interests and Aspirations for Engineering Faculty Positions,” is a partnership with Oklahoma State University and Cultural Inquiry Consulting.

Turner’s research will lay the groundwork for future studies and help uncover best practices for providing Native Americans with experiences, support, and encouragement to pursue engineering and consider faculty roles.

Varma receives grant-in-aid to study use of games in middle school STEM education

Keisha Varma

Keisha Varma, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s psychological foundations of education program, has been awarded a Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship from the University of Minnesota’s Office of the Vice President for Research for her study, “The SciGames Project – Using Games to Support Science and Engineering Practices.”

Varma’s three-step project will investigate how board games can support middle school students’ STEM learning and problem solving behaviors by:

  1. Designing and implementing a professional development program to help teachers in a local district effectively incorporate games into their curriculum.
  2. Involving parents in the process by making them aware that the games they play at home can help their kids develop science and engineering thinking skills.
  3. Working with experts in computer and cognitive sciences specify and gather behavioral data from students’ game play for use in future studies.

The goal of the study is to gain a better understanding of how games support learning in formal and informal learning environments by answering specific research questions.

  1. Do students show improved understanding of science and engineering practices after playing various board games?
  2. Do students show improved understanding of science and engineering practices after playing high vs. low strategy games?
  3. How do teachers incorporate games into their science classroom practices?
  4. How do families view games as supports for science learning and family activities in general?

Varma plans build on this initial research with iterative studies leading to the design of digital games to support teachers in their science instruction.

Bart appointed to Education Commission of European Chess Union

Professor William Bart

William Bart, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s psychological foundations of education program, has been appointed to the Education Commission of the European Chess Union. Over five million students receive chess instruction in European schools to facilitate mathematics achievement and promote the development of critical and logical thinking skills.

Congratulations to Professor Bart on this important role!

Fleury receives grant to develop reading intervention for preschoolers with autism

Veronica Fleury

Veronica Fleury, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s special education program, has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Organization for Autism Research (OAR). The project, Students and Teachers Actively Reading Together (START), will evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of an adaptive shared reading intervention for preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

START’s first-stage intervention will be traditional dialogic reading—which encourages adults to prompt children with questions and engage them in discussions while reading to them—delivered in small groups of three to four students. Children who respond well to dialogic reading will continue with the group intervention. Those who are slower to respond will be randomized to one of two intensified instruction conditions.

This proposal is related to an application submitted to the Institute of Education Sciences for a larger four year development project that is currently under consideration.

Davison, colleagues blog for Psychology Today on causes of reading comprehension difficulties

Mark Davison

Mark Davison, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s quantitative methods in education program, and his colleagues recently wrote a blog post for Psychology Today on their assessment, MOCCA (Multiple-Choice Online Causal Comprehension Assessment). In the post, the researchers describe how MOCCA can be used to get to the root of reading comprehension struggles.

Read the full blog post.

Kohli, colleagues piecewise growth model published in Psychometrika

Nidhi Kohli, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s quantitative methods in education program, and her colleagues recently published an article,  “Detecting multiple random changepoints in Bayesian piecewise growth mixture models,” in Psychometrika.  The article highlights a piecewise growth mixture model Kohli and her colleagues developed using a Bayesian inference approach that allows the estimation of multiple random changepoints (knots) within each latent class and develops a procedure to empirically detect the number of random changepoints within each class.

The study makes a significant advancement to Kohli’s existing research program in piecewise growth models.  In all of the previous methods and applied substantive studies, researchers hypothesized and prefixed the number of unknown changepoint locations (i.e., the number of changepoints were specified in advance). There is no existing methodological study that empirically detects the number of changepoints (i.e., considers the number of changepoints as unknown and to be inferred from the data) within a unified framework for inference. This is limiting for many applications.

Piecewise studies of educational data typically assume one changepoint (Sullivan et al. 2017; Kohli et al. 2015b; Kieffer 2012). However, it is plausible that many learning trajectories will have at least two changepoints: one preceding a period of accelerated growth (an “a-ha” moment) and another preceding a period of decelerated growth (a “saturation point”) (Gallistel et al. 2004). Multiple changepoints are also plausible for many physical growth processes. For these and other applications a flexible inferential framework that allows for an arbitrary number of latent changepoints, as well as individual variation and population heterogeneity in the form of latent classes, is needed.  This method fulfills that need.

The article includes a user friendly R package that makes easy for researchers and practitioners to apply this method to their data sets.

Read the full article (including citations).

Learn more about Dr. Kohli’s research.