Research Associate

Maier’s research focuses on enhancing young children’s preschool experience so that they are better prepared for school both academically and emotionally. As a research associate, she works on preschool educational interventions and evaluations, including Making Pre-K Count (which examines the effects of a preschool mathematics curriculum). There she leads the implementation study and leads measurement on both the implementation and impact sides of the study. She also coauthored a literature review examining the effect of family involvement on children’s learning. Maier received her PhD in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami. Prior to joining MDRC, Maier was a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia.

  • MDRC Publications


      Improving Math Instruction in New York City

      October, 2016

      An evidence-based preschool math curriculum called Building Blocks, combined with ongoing professional development, was compared with “business as usual” pre-K programs across 69 public schools and community-based organizations. This report contains interim findings on the implementation of the model, the amount and quality of its math instruction, and children’s learning outcomes.


      Design Options for an Evaluation of Head Start Coaching

      July, 2014

      Using a study of coaching in Head Start as an example, this report reviews potential experimental design options that get inside the “black box” of social interventions by estimating the effects of individual components. It concludes that factorial designs are usually most appropriate.


      A Focus on Literacy and Math Achievement Outcomes and Social-Emotional Skills

      October, 2013
      Frances L. Van Voorhis, Michelle Maier, Joyce L. Epstein, Chrishana M. Lloyd

      This report reviews 95 studies on how families’ involvement in children’s learning and development through activities at home and at school affects the literacy, mathematics, and social-emotional skills of children. The review also offers recommendations for additional lines of inquiry and discusses next steps in research and practice.

  • Other Publications

      Bohlmann, Natalie, Michelle F. Maier, and Natalia Palacios. 2015. “Bidirectionality in Self-Regulation and Expressive Vocabulary: Comparisons Between Monolingual and Dual Language Learners in Preschool.” Child Development 86, 4: 1,094-1,111.

      Williford, Amanda, Michelle F. Maier, Jason Downer, Robert C. Pianta, and Carolee Howes. 2013. “Understanding How Children’s Engagement and Teachers’ Interactions Combine to Predict School Readiness.Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 34: 299-309.

      Downer, Jason, Faiza Jamil, Michelle F. Maier, and Robert C. Pianta. 2012. “Implications of Information Processing Theory for Professional Development of Early Educators.” In Carolee Howes, Bridget K. Hamre, and Robert C. Pianta (eds.), Effective Early Childhood Professional Development: Improving Teacher Practice and Child Outcomes. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing Co.

      Maier, Michelle F., Virginia E Vitiello, and Daryl B. Greenfield. 2012. “A Multilevel Model of Child- and Classroom-Level Psychosocial Factors that Support Language and Literacy Resilience of Children in Head Start.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly 27: 104-114.

      Maier, Michelle F., Daryl B. Greenfield, and Rebecca J. Bulotsky-Shearer. 2012. Development and Validation of a Preschool Teacher Attitudes and Beliefs Toward Science Teaching Questionnaire.” Early Childhood Research Quarterly 28: 366-378.

      Dominguez, Ximena, Virginia E. Vitiello, Michelle F. Maier, and Daryl B. Greenfield. 2010. “A Longitudinal Examination of Young Children’s Learning Behavior: Child-Level and Classroom-Level Predictors of Change Throughout the Preschool Year.” School Psychology Review 39: 29-47.

  • Projects