College of Education *
College of Education *
Kelli D. Cummings (CHSE)
Kelli D. Cummings
Contact Information:
Room: 1311C Benjamin Building
Phone: (301) 405-6498

Kelli D. Cummings (Ph.D., NCSP, University of Oregon)
Assistant Professor; Special Education Program
Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education (CHSE)

Research Labs, Centers, Affiliations and Special Appointments:
Faculty Affiliate in the Maryland Language and Literacy Research Center
Faculty Affiliate in the Maryland Language Science Center


Research Interests | Bio | Publications | Curriculum Vitae |

Research Interests

Identification of high-incidence disabilities; systems change; universal screening assessments; interim assessments (intervention evaluation); strengths-based assessments (intervention planning); data-based decision making; language and social-emotional development in early childhood; educational measurement and data analysis; implementation science


Professional Biography

I am an Assistant Professor of Special Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to my appointment in Maryland, I was a Research Associate and Director of Measurement and Evaluation at the University of Oregon, Center on Teaching and Learning and an Assistant Professor of School Psychology at the University of Montana. I have also worked in the field as a special educator (Grades 3 – 5) and school psychologist (birth – 21), bringing the practical experience gained in these roles to my work in the research community.

As a faculty member at Maryland, I adhere to a scientist-practitioner-scholar model, whereby challenging myself as well as my graduate students to close research-to-practice gaps by linking education science to special education prek – 12 practice and teacher preparation. In turn, our scholarship activities consider the unique context of professional practice at all levels.

I also affiliate and conduct research within the Maryland Language and Literacy Center (LLRC), which brings together faculty and students to focus on language and literacy issues in education from different perspectives. The LLRC is part of a larger campus initiative, the Language Science Center (LSC), which focuses on advancing language science at the University of Maryland and beyond, through integrated research and training that links fundamental science with applications in education, technology, and health. Through the LLRC and the LSC, I foresee the faculty and students at the University of Maryland having a major impact on improving language and literacy education at the state, national, and international levels.

Notice to Applicants for the Ph.D. Program in Special Education

It is an exciting time in the field of special education. The role of the special educator has evolved dramatically over past decade, and I work actively with my graduate students to address current needs and issues related to those research-to-practice demands.

I will be accepting a Ph.D. student for mentorship in the 2015-2016 academic year. Applicants with an interest in curriculum-based measurement, data-based decision making, implementation science, and taking big ideas to scale in socially important ways are especially encouraged to apply. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any specific questions.

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Selected Publications

Smolkowski, K. & Cummings, K.D. (2015) Evaluation of the DIBELS (6th Edition) diagnostic system for the selection of native and proficient English speakers at risk for reading difficulties. Advance online publication. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. doi:10.1177/0734282915589017

Cummings, K.D. & Smolkowski, K. (2015). Bridging the gap: Selecting students at risk for academic difficulties. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 44(1), 55-61. doi: 10.1177/1534508415590396

Smolkowski, K. & Cummings, K.D. (2015). Evaluation of diagnostic systems: The selection of students at risk for academic difficulties. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 41(1), 41-54. 10.1177/1534508415590386

Cummings, K.D., Biancarosa, G., Schaper, A., & Reed, D.K. (2014). Rater error in curriculum-based measurement of oral reading. Journal of School Psychology, 52(4), 361-375. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2014.05.007

Biancarosa, G. & Cummings, K.D. (2014). New metrics, measures, and uses for fluency data: an introduction to a special issue on the assessment of reading fluency. Advance online publication. Reading and Writing, (28)1, 1-7. doi: 10.1007/s11145-014-9516-1

Cummings, K.D., Stoolmiller, M., Baker, S.K., Fien, F., & Kame'enui, E.J. (2014). Using school-level student achievement to engage in formative evaluation: comparative school-level rates of oral reading fluency growth conditioned by initial skill for second-grade students [Special issue]. Reading and Writing, (28)1, 105-130. doi: 10.1007/s11145-014-9512-5

Reed, D.K., Cummings, K.D., Schaper, A., & Biancarosa, G. (2014). Assessment fidelity in reading intervention research: a synthesis of the literature. Review of Education Research84(2), 275-321. doi: 10.3102/0034654314522131

Cummings, K.D., Park, Y., & Bauer Schaper, H.A. (2013). Form effects on DIBELS Next oral reading fluency progress monitoring passages [Special issue]. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 38(2), 91-104. doi: 10.1177/1534508412447010

Nese, J.F.T., Biancarosa, G., Cummings, K.D., Kennedy, P.C., Alonzo, J., & Tindal, G. (2013). In search of average growth: Describing within-year oral reading fluency growth across grades 1 – 8. Journal of School Psychology, 51(5), 625-642. doi:

Petscher, Y., Cummings, K.D., Biancarosa, G., & Fien, F. (2013). Advanced (measurement) applications of curriculum-based measurement in reading. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 38(2) 71-75. doi: 10.1177/1534508412461434

Cummings, K.D., Kaminski, R.A., Good, R.H., & O'Neil, M. (2010). Assessing phonemic awareness in preschool and kindergarten: development and initial validation of First Sound Fluency. Assessment for Effective Intervention36(2), 94-106. doi: 10.1177/1534508410392209

Cummings, K.D., Atkins, T.A., Allison, R., & Cole, C. (2008). Response to intervention: Investigating the new role of special educators. Teaching Exceptional Children40(4), 24-31. Retrieved from

Cummings, K.D., Kaminski, R.A., & Merrell, K.W. (2008). Advances in the assessment of social competence: findings from a preliminary investigation of a General Outcome Measure (GOM) for Social Behavior. Psychology in the Schools, 45(10), 930-946. doi: 10.1002/pits.20343

Kaminski, R.A. & Cummings, K.D. (2007). Assessment for learning: using general outcomes measures. Threshold, Winter 2007, 26-28.

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Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae

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