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Inspecting What’s Expected: Exploring Relations between Classroom Environment and Pre-Adolescents’ Critical Consciousness

Critical consciousness (CC) is a developmental asset that equips young people to challenge societal inequities and negotiate barriers to social mobility and inclusion. CC entails the critical analysis of inequities and the motivation and action taken to promote social change. The expectations that teachers set for students and the degree to which they provide an open classroom climate (e.g., foster diverse opinions may be of particular importance for the development of CC. Exactly how these environmental factors influence burgeoning CC during the pre-adolescent years remains unclear. Extant literature suggests that teachers are often unprepared to guide important classroom conversations regarding societal injustices, and can benefit from professional development that guides classroom dialogue on challenging topics. This study will extend understanding of pre-adolescent CC development and create teacher professional development to support CC-enhancing classroom dialogue.

Understanding the Links Between PK-16 Early Learning and Developmental Experiences

A secondary data analysis of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (birth and kindergarten cohorts) will be used to investigate questions about the impact of early educational and developmental experiences on children’s learning outcomes in subsequent years, with particular focus the development of achievement gaps. One primary goal is to explore how early experiences with caregivers and teachers vary by children’s demographic characteristics, such as gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic context, and to measure the extent to which these experiential differences influence children’s development and academic achievement in subsequent years of schooling through middle school. Another project, will examine the extent to which learning experiences in early childhood have changed differentially for different groups over time, and if these changes in curriculum, intensity, and quality of educational experiences have influenced achievement gaps.

Unpacking Head Start Teachers Reflective Writing and Ideas about Children

A data analysis of the Project REWRITE Study, structured writing intervention focused on improving teacher well-being and effectiveness, will be used to explore Head Start teachers' attitudes and journaled reflections regarding a relationship with a challenging student. This project encompasses a variety of goals related to assessing the efficacy of the piloted writing intervention, revealing emergent themes regarding teachers' ideas about children, and exploring the utility of reflective writing to improve CLASS observation scores. This project will paint the picture of the challenging teacher-student relationship in early childhood education with the brush strokes of a group of Head Start teachers' efforts to improve their classroom interactions. Their stories illustrate their experiences and perceptions of challenging teacher-student relationships which are relevant at a time when teacher efficacy and retention are necessary for progress in early childhood education.

Critical Consciousness: An Exploration of Measurement and Mean Differences by Age, Sex, and Ethnic-Racial Identity

This project will examine if there are age, sex, or ethnic-racial identity differences in critical consciousness by testing a multiple indicator and multiple causes (MIMIC) model of critical consciousness’s measurement and construct means. Using data from three distinct cohort administrations (total N = 655) of the Critical Consciousness Scale (Diemer, Rapa, Park, & Perry, 2017), our MIMIC modeling tests (a) equivalence in how the components of critical consciousness are measured and (b) if there are latent mean differences between younger and older participants, between White youth and youth of color, and between boys and girls.

Exploration of the Longitudinal Effects of Test Anxiety on Educational Attainment and Aspirations

This secondary data analysis project explores longitudinal relations among perceived discrimination, academic self-competence, text anxiety, and academic performance among a diverse group of adolescents. For this project, longitudinal data are from three waves: (1) data collected when participants were in 8th grade; (2) data collected when participants were in 11th grade; and (3) data collected one year after high school.

Black Students Studying Together

The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which black students are utilizing peer groups of similarly identifying students to support their academic achievement. The odds are not in the favor of black students in our education system that continues to see a widening of the achievement gap. Through developmental interviews participants will have an opportunity to share how the peer group they associate with supports or doesn't support them in meeting academic expectations of being a college students.