Heather Bachman


In my research, I apply a psychological approach to education research that relies heavily on a bioecological framework to capture the complexity of interrelations among distal (e.g., SES, policy) and proximal (e.g., parenting, classroom instruction) factors that shape children’s school readiness skills and academic achievement. I also aim to balance the predominant focus on risk and disadvantage with an emphasis on positive developmental outcomes among children from diverse family backgrounds. My research agenda is concentrated in three primary areas. The first focus involves linking parenting practices to children’s school readiness skills and achievement during elementary school. The second focus examines how classroom instructional practices in Pre-K and elementary school promote academic, socioemotional, and behavioral skills. The third focus relates the family and classroom research to broader, contemporary issues in family and educational policy. Connecting the three strands of this applied research agenda is my primary goal of uncovering how multiple contextual influences (family, child care, school, or policy) can narrow achievement gaps and improve the well-being of children from economically disadvantaged families.