College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Psychology

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.


William Bart

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.

Andrew Zieffler

Zieffler (quantitative methods in education) is a statistics education researcher investigating how students understand statistical concepts such as sampling variability and the logic of statistical inference. He is 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.