I am an Institute of Education Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow with the Curry School of Education & Human Development at the University of Virginia.

 

My research seeks to identify and accurately measure essential features of quality in early care and education classrooms and explores how they can be brought to scale successfully. Specifically, I focus on two features most directly related to young children’s experiences in the classroom: curricular quality and interactional quality. My work integrates developmental theory with the tools of policy analysis to conduct causally-motivated and descriptive studies with the goal of informing policy and practice to better serve children and their families. I received my PhD in Education from the University of California, Irvine in 2018.

I am on the job market for the 2019-20 academic year.

Curriculum Vitae
 
Research

Psychometric validation and reorganization of the Desired Results Developmental Profile

Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment

This study reports an independent investigation of the psychometric properties of Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP), a teacher-rated measure of school readiness for preschool-aged children. In a sample of 2,031 low-income, 3- to 5-year-old children attending Head Start, we tested three measurement models: a higher order one-factor model, a seven-factor model, and a five-factor model. To explore the appropriateness of the DRDP for use with diverse populations of young children, we used multiple group and differential item functioning (DIF) analyses to determine whether the DRDP works differently for dual language learners (DLL) and non-DLLs. The proposed five-factor structure fits the data best, with greater face and statistical validity. Using this conceptually driven factor structure, the multiple group analyses were robust for DLL and non-DLL preschool students. More than half of the items on the DRDP displayed little DIF. Items measuring emergent language and literacy exhibited DIF favoring non-DLL children.

Distinctions without a difference? Preschool curricula and children’s development

Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness

Public preschool programs require the use of a research-based, whole-child curriculum, yet limited research examines whether curricula influence classroom experiences and children’s development. We use five samples of preschool children to examine differences in classroom processes and children’s school readiness by classroom curricular status (curriculum/no curriculum), and across classrooms using different curricular packages. When a teacher reports using a curriculum, their classroom processes are indistinguishable from

classrooms where teachers report using no curriculum. Some differences in classroom activities emerged across classrooms using different curricula; however, substantial variability exists across classrooms using the same curriculum. Head Start program fixed effects models and meta-analytic regressions reveal few associations between curricula and children's skills. Findings question whether preschool curricular policy benefit child development.

Theoretical and methodological implications of associations between executive function and mathematics in early childhood

Contemporary Educational Psychology

Despite agreement about the importance of executive function (EF) for children’s early math achievement, its treatment in correlational studies reflects a lack of agreement about the theoretical connection between the two. It remains unclear whether the association between EF and math operates through a latent EF construct or specific EF components. Specifying the correct measurement model has important theoretical implications for the predicted effects of EF interventions on children’s math achievement. In the current study, we tested whether associations between EF and math operate via a latent EF factor, or via specific EF components using data from a large, nationally representative sample. We then replicated these same analyses with a meta-analytic database drawn from ten studies that collected measures of children’s EF and math achievement. Our results lend support to explanations that a single EF factor accounts for most of the EF component-specific associations with math achievement. We discuss theoretical and methodological implications of these findings for future work.

 
Teaching

My teaching practices reflect the idea that students learn best when the course material is relevant, meaningful, and rooted in real-life contexts. Regardless of the career paths they take, students will need the tools to evaluate, communicate, and disseminate evidence to guide informed decision making. I strive to help all of my students achieve success by preparing them to be thoughtful and careful consumers and producers of scientific studies. 

I make sure my students are successful in school and in life by providing meaningful opportunities for them to show what they know, emphasizing collaborative inquiry, and tailoring feedback they need to improve. My classes are successful when students come away with an intuition for the strengths and weaknesses of different research designs and analytic plans, and use that information to evaluate and ask informed questions about the validity of scientific studies they will encounter in their personal and professional lives. These skills go beyond application to only the social sciences, and provide students with a sharper toolkit for critically consuming or producing research in any field or capacity.

University of California, Irvine

Teaching assistant and lab instructor for the following courses:

  • Education Research Design (undergraduate)

  • 21st Century Literacies (undergraduate)

  • Applied Regression (graduate)

 
Contact

Email: tcn3rt@virginia.edu

405 Emmet Street South

Ruffner Hall 269

Charlottesville, VA 22904-4260