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Bethany Rittle-Johnson

Professor and Chair, Psychology & Human Development
Anita S. and Antonio M. Gotto Chair in Child Development

Professor Rittle-Johnson's research focuses on understanding how knowledge change occurs. Her specific interests are in how children learn problem-solving procedures and key concepts in mathematics. For example, what roles do comparison or generating explanations have in promoting learning of concepts and procedures? What early math knowledge supports later math knowledge? This research bridges between psychological theory and educational practice, and Professor Rittle-Johnson also collaborates with teachers and educational researchers to apply and test her research in educational settings.

She describes her research interests and what led to them in a 2015 interview here

Sample Research Projects:

Lab Website

Representative Publications

Adler, R.*, Xu. D.* & Rittle-Johnson, B. (in press). What Counts as STEM, and Does it Matter. British Journal of Educational Psychology.

Douglas^, A.-A., & Rittle-Johnson, B. (2024). Parental early math support: The role of parental knowledge about early math development. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 66, 124–134.

Douglas^, A -A., Msall, C.*, Rittle-Johnson, B. (2023). Developing and validating a measure of parental knowledge about early math. Frontiers in Psychology: Developmental Psychology, 14.

Msall, C.*, Douglas^, A. A., Rittle-Johnson, B. (2023). Parents' approaches to numeracy support:  What parents do is rarely what they think is most important. Frontiers in Education, 8.

Durkin, K., Rittle-Johnson, B., Star, J. & Loehr, A.* (2021). Comparing and discussing multiple strategies: An approach to improving algebra instruction. The Journal of Experimental Education.

Star, J., Jeon, S., Clark, P., Comeford, R., Rittle-Johnson, B., & Durkin, K. (2021). Compare and Discuss Multiple Strategies. Mathematics Teaching: Learning and Teaching PK-12, 114, 9-12.

Zippert, E.^, Douglas, A.,* Tian, F.,* & Rittle-Johnson, B. (2021). Helping preschoolers learn math: The impact of emphasizing the patterns in objects and numbers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 113, 1370–1386

Loehr, A.*, Fazio, L. & Rittle-Johnson, B. (2020). The role of recalling previous errors in middle-school children’s learning. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 997-1014.

Loehr, A.* Rittle-Johnson, B., Durkin, K. & Star, J. R. (2020). Does calling it ‘Morgan’s way’ reduce student learning? Evaluating the effect of person-presentation during comparison and discussion of worked-examples in mathematics classrooms. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 34, 825-836. DOI: 10.1002/acp.3670

Rittle-Johnson, B, Farran, D. & Durkin, K. (2021). Marginalized students’ perspectives on instructional strategies in middle-school mathematics classrooms. Journal of Experimental Education, 89, 569-586,

Rittle-Johnson, B., Star, J. R., & Durkin, K. (2020). How can cognitive science research help improve education? The case of comparing multiple strategies to improve mathematics learning and teaching. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 29, 599–609.

Zippert, E.^, Douglas, A.,* & Rittle-Johnson, B. (2020). Finding patterns in objects and numbers: Repeating patterning in pre-K predicts kindergarten mathematics knowledge. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 200,

*student (graduate or undergraduate); ^post-doc