College of Education *
College of Education *
Patricia Alexander (HDQM)
Patricia Alexander
Contact Information:
Room: 3304 Benjamin Building
Phone: (301) 405-2821

Patricia Alexander (Ph. D., University of Maryland, College Park)
Professor; Educational Psychology Specialization
Human Development and Quantitative Methodology (HDQM)

Research Labs, Centers, Affiliations and Special Appointments:
Jean Mullan Professor of Literacy and
Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Educational Psychology
Fellow, American Educational Research Association (AERA)
Fellow, Division 15, American Psychological Association (APA)
Spencer Fellow of the National Academy of Education


Research Interests | Bio | Publications | Curriculum Vitae |

Research Interests

Domain-specific learning; Epistemic beliefs; Text-based learning; Interplay of knowledge, strategies, and motivation in academic development


Professional Biography

A former middle-school teacher, Dr. Alexander received her reading specialist degree from James Madison University in 1979 and her Ph.D. in reading from the University of Maryland in 1981. Her research focuses on literacy and reading comprehension, learning and academic development, critical and relational reasoning, epistemic beliefs, and expertise. After completing her Ph.D., she joined the faculty at Texas A&M University before returning to UMD as a professor in 1995. Her honors include the Oscar S. Causey Award for outstanding contributions to literacy research from the National Reading Conference (2001), the E. L. Thorndike Award for Career Achievement in Educational Psychology from APA Division 15 (2006), and the Sylvia Scribner Career Award from AERA Division C (2007). She has also received university-level honors for both her teaching and her research.

Recently named as one of the most influential educational psychologists of the past decade (Patterson-Hazly & Kiewra, 2012), Dr. Alexander has served as President of Division 15 (Educational Psychology) of the APA, Vice-President of Division C (Learning and Instruction) of AERA, and Past-President of the Southwest Educational Research Association. Since receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Alexander has published over 270 articles, books, or chapters in the area of learning and instruction. She has also presented over 400 invited addresses or papers at national and international conferences. She currently serves as the senior editor of Contemporary Educational Psychology, was past editor of Instructional Science and Associate Editor of American Educational Research Journal-Teaching, Learning, and Human Development, and presently serves on over 10 editorial boards including those for Learning and Instruction, Educational Psychologist, and the Journal of Educational Psychology.

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Selected Publications

(A complete vita can be found at

Edited Volumes
Mayer, R. E., & Alexander, P. A. (Eds.) (2011). Handbook of research on learning and instruction. New York: Routledge.

Chapters in Edited Volumes

Alexander, P. A., Murphy, P. K., & Greene, J. A. (2012). Projecting educational psychology’s future from its past and present: A trend analysis. In K. R. Harris, S. Graham, & T. Urdan (Eds.), Educational psychology handbook: Vol. 1. Theories, constructs, and critical issues (pp. 3-32). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Murphy, P. K., Alexander, P. A., & Muis, K. R. (2012). Knowledge and knowing: The journey from philosophy and psychology to human learning. In K. R. Harris, S. Graham, & T. Urdan (Eds.), Educational psychology handbook: Vol. 1. Theories, constructs, and critical issues (pp. 189-226). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Alexander, P. A., Dinsmore, D. L., Fox, E., Grossnickle, E. M., Loughlin, S. M., Maggioni, L., Parkinson, M. M., & Winters, F. I. (2011). Higher-order thinking and knowledge: Domain-general and domain-specific trends and future directions. In G. Schraw & D. Robinson (Ed.), Assessment of higher order thinking skills (pp. 47-88). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers.

Special Issues Editorships and Contributions

Alexander, P. A. (Ed.) (2013). Calibrating calibration: Creating conceptual clarity to guide measurement and calculation [Special Issue] Learning and Instruction, 24.

Alexander, P. A. (2013) Calibration: What is it and why it matters? An introduction to the special issue on calibrating calibration. Learning and Instruction, 24, 1-3.

Chambliss, M. J., Alexander, P. A., & Price, J. (2012) Epistemological thread in the fabric of pedagogical research [Special Issue on Teaching Quality], Teachers College Record, 114(4), 2012, p. -. ID Number: 16637.

Refereed Journal Articles


Dinsmore, D. L., & Alexander, P. A. (2012). A critical discussion of deep and surface processing: What it means, how it is measured, the role of context, and model specification. Educational Psychology Review, 24, 499-567

Alexander, P. A., & the Disciplined Reading and Learning Research Laboratory (2012). Reading into the future: Competence for the 21st century. Educational Psychologist, 47(4), 1–22. doi: 10.1080/00461520.2012.722511

Langdon, F., Dinsmore, D. L., & Alexander, P. A. (2012). Uncovering perceptions of the induction and mentoring experience: developing a measure that work. Teacher Development, 16, 399-414.

Murphy, P. K., Alexander, P. A., Greene, J. A., & Hennessey, M. N. (2012). Exploring epistemic frames in conceptual change research. Asia Pacific Education Review. 13, 475-486. doi: 10.1007/s12564-011-9199-0

Alexander, P. A., Winters, F. I., Loughlin, S. M., & Grossnickle, E. M. (2012). Students' conceptions of knowledge, information, and truth. Learning and Instruction, 22, 1-15. DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2011.05.004

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Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae

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