Keynote Address & Moderated Discussion - 2016 CYFS Summit on Research in Early Childhood

Carol Mcdonald Connor, Ph.D.Chancellor's Professor, University of California, Irvine

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Title: Using Assessment to Inform and Promote Effective Early Learning Opportunities for Young Children

The newly funded Institute of Education Sciences’ Early Learning Research Network offers an important opportunity to support children’s development academically and socially from preschool through third grade. This includes the development of a new classroom observation system: Optimizing Learning Opportunities for Students. The OLOS observation system is designed to encourage assessment-informed teaching. One promise of assessment-informed teaching is that learning opportunities can be tailored to each child’s unique constellation of skills and aptitudes. In this presentation, McDonald Connor will discuss how we can use child assessments, technology, and classroom observations to support more effective teaching from preschool through third grade.



The Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools (CYFS), the Buffett Early Childhood Institute and First Five Nebraska are pleased to present the fourth biennial CYFS Summit on Research in Early Childhood, which took place Thursday, April 7, 2016 at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel.


Carol McDonald Connor is a Chancellor’s Professor in Education at the University of California, Irvine. She is also a Distinguished Research Associate at the Florida Center for Reading Research. 

McDonald Connor’s research investigates individual child differences and the links between children’s language and literacy development. She focuses on children who are atypical and diverse learners, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing; the goal of her research is to illuminate reasons behind the perplexing difficulties faced by these children as they develop basic and advanced literary skills. 

Most recently, her research interests have focused on how to individualize students’ learning opportunities in the classroom—from preschool through fifth grade—and develop technology and interventions to improve teacher efficacy and students’ literacy, math, and science outcomes. 

McDonald Connor is the principal investigator for studies funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, including the Early Learning Research Network and the Reading for Understanding Network. She works closely with teachers and educational leaders and is a strong advocate of research-school partnerships.