College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Psychology

Research topics: Opportunity gaps

Working toward greater educational equity

Our researchers study educational outcomes and disparities and strive to improve how we identify and serve students who need additional supports in order to succeed in schools.


Panayiota Kendeou

Kendeou (psychological foundations of education) investigates the development of higher-order language and cognitive skills that support reading comprehension. She also conducts lab-based studies investigating how people learn new knowledge and revise pre-existing knowledge during their reading experiences.

Michael Rodriguez

Rodriguez (quantitative methods in education) is the dean of the College of Education and Human Development, Campbell Leadership Chair, and co-director of the Educational Equity Resource Center. His research focuses on understanding the psychometric properties of tests. This work has included research on the effects of item formats and the use of constructed-response versus multiple-choice items. Dr. Rodriguez has a strong interest in applied measurement, spending a good deal of time working with schools and school districts to develop methods for improving their use of large-scale test information for planning and evaluation. He also works on issues related to improving accessibility of assessment of students with disabilities and English language learners.

Amanda Sullivan

Sullivan (school psychology) focuses her research on describing special needs among children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and understanding the educational and health services they receive. She is particularly interested in elucidating disparities in the educational treatment and outcomes of students with and at-risk for disabilities and identify malleable factors related to outcomes in order to inform policy and practice to better support students’ educational needs. Much of her work entails secondary analyses of large-scale datasets that allow for population estimates of students’ characteristics, experiences, and outcomes.

Sherri Turner

Turner (counselor education) studies ways to address disparities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) among college students, youth living in the inner-cities, and Native American youth. She also studies relationships between counseling, cultural engagement and Native American adolescents’ academic achievement and college-decidedness.

Alisha Wackerle-Hollman

Wackerle-Hollman (school psychology) is a research associate professor and PI for Spanish Individual Growth and Development Indicators (S-IGDIs). S-IGDIs is a project designed to develop and evaluate Spanish measures of early literacy designed for Spanish-English bilinguals. Wackerle-Hollman also has a strong interest in community based participatory research, and as a result, she is currently a Co-PI on two Family Academy projects within the federally funded promise neighborhood in North Minneapolis (Northside Achievement Zone) where her work centers around developing robust, evidence-based practices in parenting intervention.