College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Psychology

Research lab: Keisha Varma


Understanding the cognitive, developmental and neuroscience underpinnings of STEM thinking and reasoning, particularly science

Quote from Keisha Varma

Keisha Varma

I am currently pursuing my interests in the relationships among cognition, instruction, and testing through research on cognitive diagnostic testing and on the development of talents and gifts among students.


Scientific Reasoning and Science Learning

My work on scientific reasoning and science learning is classroom-based research that explores ways to enhance middle school students' science learning by supporting their scientific reasoning skills.

Games and Learning Sciences

My current work in this area explores how to use digital and board games to support science learning by providing opportunities for middle school students to engage in scientific practices and practice critical thinking skills related to science learning. Current studies are exploring the relationship between executive function, hypothetico-deductive reasoning exhibited in board games and scientific reasoning.

ESPRIT- Fostering Equitable Science through PaRent Involvement and Technology

This NSF-funded project looks at ways to use a social media learning environment to help mediate the achievement gap by increasing minority and immigrant parent involvement in middle school science education.

GopherMath Parent Engagement Program

GopherMath is a collaboration between Generation Next, Minneapolis Public Schools, and faculty from the Department of Educational Psychology, the Institute for Child Development, and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and is led by Kathleen Kramer. For GopherMath, I lead a team designing a new program to help parents from the Somali community better understand how to encourage productive mindsets in learning mathematics. The program helps parents understand why fraction instruction is taught using concrete models and other representations and their role in supporting their children’s education in general.