Drs. Colleen Ganley & Sara Hart

Drs. Colleen Ganley & Sara Hart
Stem Field
Title of Research
Unpacking the Development of Mathematics and Reading Skills and Attitudes
Description of Research Area

Drs. Ganley and Hart conduct research on the nature of mathematics and reading development and their corresponding attitudes (e.g., anxiety, interest).

Dr. Ganley recently completed data collection for a study funded by the Institute of Education Sciences in collaboration with Dr. Rob Schoen and Dr. Chris Schatschneider. The goal of this project is to examine how teachers’ math anxiety relates to their instructional practices and their students’ math attitudes and achievement. We collected data with ~250 elementary school teachers and ~2,500 of their students. We measured a number of additional student cognitive and affective outcomes (e.g., math vocabulary, spatial skills, test anxiety, general anxiety) over multiple time points to explore their development and examine how that development is related to teacher math anxiety and other teacher characteristics (e.g., math knowledge for teaching, math beliefs).

Dr. Hart, in collaboration with Dr. Ganley and Dr. Jeanette Taylor, has a project funded by the National Institutes of Health to uncover salient factors, including genetic and environmental influences, which contribute to the co-development of reading and math performance. We have recruited 1800 pairs of twins for the first nationally-representative US twin sample, the National Project on Achievement in Twins. We use a cohort-sequential design starting in kindergarten to examine reading and math performance across elementary school. We also have publicly available data that characterizes the environmental contexts children live in and we are collecting data on family contexts and child attitudes to examine how these are associated with the (co-)development of reading and math performance.

The postdoctoral scholar will have the chance to write papers using data from these projects as well as data from other related projects in both labs. The postdoctoral scholar will have freedom to decide on the papers they want to write. There will also be opportunities for grant writing.

Special Research & Career Skills

We provide hands-on mentorship on advanced statistical analysis (including twin modeling), open science practices, manuscript writing, grant writing, grant management, and lab management. We will make use of an Individual Development Plan for goal setting and hold annual evaluation meetings to assess progress toward goals.