Timothy W Curby

Timothy W Curby

Timothy W Curby

Associate Professor

Applied Developmental Psychology: Classrooms as a context for student learning and development; Teacher–student interactions; Classroom quality and variability; Social-emotional teaching, Quantitative Methods.

Dr. Curby’s work focuses on early childhood classroom experiences and applying advanced statistical models to school-based research. Specifically, he focuses on the interactions that teachers have with children as a mechanism for children’s development. Dr. Curby is also interested in measurement of classrooms and development of observational measures of the classroom environment. More information about his work is available on the Development In School Contexts (DISC) lab website 

Current Research

Development and Preliminary Validation of the Emotional Teacher Rating Scale (EMOTERS) for Preschool Classrooms

Children aren't just learning social-emotional skills when the class is doing a social-emotional lesson. Teachers are constantly modeling, teaching, responding, and creating an environment which teaches children social-emotional skills. In conjunction with Dr. Katherine Zinsser's Social-Emotional Teaching and Learning Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago, we are conducting an IES-funded study to develop an observational measure of social-emotional teaching. The four-year study will result in a measure for use in preschool classrooms that ranks the various interactions from the least difficult to the most difficult making it clear what teachers can do to improve.

Improving Social and Emotional Teaching in Preschool

With support from the Department of Education, we are working with a group of residents taking part in the University of Illinois at Chicago's Alternative Licensure Program. We aim to support teachers in their supports for (a) children's developing emotional competence, (b) STEM learning, and (c) diverse learners. In particular, we plan to use the EMOTERS measure in the context of coaching and professional learning communities to assist in the professional development of residents.

Selected Publications

Curby, T. W., McKnight, P., Alexander, L., Erchov, S. (2019). Sources of variance in end-of-course student evaluations. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. doi:10.1080/02602938.2019.1607249

Curby, T. W., Berke, E., Alfonso, V., Blake, J. J., DeMarie, D., DuPaul, G. J., Flores, R., Hess, R. S., Howard, K. A. S., Lepore, J. C. C., Subotnik, R. F.  (2018). Transition practices into kindergarten and the barriers teachers encounter. In A. Mashburn, J. LoCasale-Crouch, and K. Pears' (Eds.) Kindergarten Transition and Readiness:  Promoting Cognitive, Social-Emotional, and Self-Regulatory Development. Springer.

Curby, T. W., Johnson, P., Mashburn, A. J., & Carlis, L. (2016). Live versus video observations: Comparing the reliability and validity of two methods of assessing classroom quality. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment. doi: 10.1177/0734282915627115.

Curby, T. W., Brown, C. A.*, Bassett, H. H., & Denham, S. A. (2015). Associations between preschoolers' social-emotional competence and preliteracy skills. Infant and Child Development, 24, 549-570. doi:10.1002/icd.1899

Curby, T. W., Downer, J. T., & Booren, L. (2014). Behavioral exchanges between teachers and children over the course of a typical preschool day: Testing bi-directional associations. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29, 193-204. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2014.01.002

Curby, T. W., Brock, L., & Hamre, B. (2013). Teachers’ emotional support consistency predicts children’s achievement gains and social skills. Early Education and Development, 24, 292–309. doi:10.1080/10409289.2012.665760

Curby, T. W., Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., & Abry, T. (2013). Do emotional support and classroom organization earlier in the year set the stage for higher quality instruction?  Journal of School Psychology, 51, 557-569. doi:10.1016/j.jsp.2013.06.001

Curby, T. W., Rudasill, K., Edwards, T.*, & Perez-Edgar, K. (2011). The role of classroom quality in ameliorating the academic and social risks associated with difficult temperament.  School Psychology Quarterly. 26(2), 175-188. doi:10.1037/a0023042

Curby, T. W., Grimm, K. J., & Pianta, R. C. (2010). Stability and change in early childhood classroom interactions during the first two hours of a day.  Early Childhood Research Quarterly. 25, 373-384. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2010.02.004

Curby, T. W., Rimm-Kaufman. S. E., & Ponitz, C. C. (2009). Teacher-child interactions and children’s achievement trajectories across kindergarten and first grade. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(4), 912-925. doi:10.1037/a0016647


Grants and Fellowships

In Progress

Institute of Education Sciences, US Dept. of Education. Development and preliminary validation of the emotional teacher rating scale (EMOTERS) for preschool classrooms. (R305A160010) PI: Zinsser. Role: Co-Principal Investigator. 2016-2020. Total Costs (GMU): $428,213.

US Department of Education (University of Illinois at Chicago).  The Chicago Early Childhood Preparation and Pathway (CECPP) Partnership.  PI: Main.  Role: Co-Principal Investigator.  2019-2024.  GMU Costs: $412,179.

National Institutes of Health.  Parent-adolescent interactions, gender, and substance use: Brain mechanisms.  (R01 DA033431-06A1).  PI Chaplin.  Role: Statistician.  2018-2023.  $2,578,998.


Courses Taught

PSYC 211 Developmental Psychology

PSYC 313 Child Development

PSYC 461/566 Cognitive and Perceptual Development

PSYC 646 Issues and Methods in Longitudinal/Developmental Research

PSYC 704 Lifespan Development

PSYC 756 Multivariate Statistics


PhD in Educational Psychology—Learning and Development, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, May 2008. Emphases: Educational Research, Quantitative Methodology, Child Development

Master of Arts in Teaching, University of Michigan, Dearborn,  December 2003. Major: Biology

Bachelor of Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, December 1997. Major: General Biology



Dissertations Supervised

Laura Rose Elizabeth Stokes, Coaching: Professional Development and Its Relation to Changes in Student–teacher Interactions in Preschools (2020)

Elpiniki Marchesini, Relationships Between Group-administered Ability Tests and Individual Academic Achievement (2020)

J. Reba Troxler, Emotional Competence in Preschool: Connecting Assessment, Programming, and Emotional Support (2019)

Alexa Roth, Changes in Emotion Teaching Practices in Preschool: Implications for Children’s Social–emotional and Academic Success (2019)

Xiaozhu An, Can the Consistency of Emotional Support from Teachers Predict Child Outcomes? (2019)

Andrea N. Mascitelli, Parent Mindfulness Training Reduces Severity of Problem Behavior in Children with Autism in Addition to Caregiver Stress (2018)

Lucia Stillerova, Bidirectional Associations Between Classroom Climate and Children’s Social–emotional Skills and Problem Behaviors in Preschool (2018)

Elizabeth Berke, The Importance of Student–Teacher Relationships Characterized by High Levels of Closeness for Children with Early Externalizing Behaviors and Later Risk-Taking Behaviors (2016)

Abby G. Carlson, Fine Motor Skills and Executive Function: Two Non-academic Predictors of Academic Achievement (2013)