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 fostering relationships, which teach children social-emotional skills. In conjunction with the 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 in preschool classrooms.

Kindergarten Teachers' Views of School Readiness

With support from the APA Center for Psychology in Schools and Education, we conducted a national survey of over 500 kindergarten teachers in the Spring of 2015, asking about their views of children's skills and abilities, problem behaviors, and challenges, as well as teachers' own background and experiences. We are currently analyzing data and preparing manuscripts.

Variability in Teacher-Child Interactions

Levels of emotional, organizational, and instructional support from teachers have been linked to the development of academic, regulatory, and social skills of children. However, not only the levels, but the variability that children experience in interactions with teachers also seems to be important. We are currently working on several manuscripts that examine how variability in emotional support is related to the academic and social development of children. For example, two teachers whose mean levels of emotional support may be quite different in their variability. One might consistently offer moderate support; the other might sometimes be very supportive, and at other times, be very unsupportive. Our first paper (Curby, Brock, & Hamre, 2013) found that students in classrooms with more emotional variability had worse outcomes - academic and social - than those children in classrooms with less emotional variability. Other work is examining how consistency is related to teacher-child relationships and predictors of teachers' emotional support consistency.

Selected Publications

Curby, T. W., McKnight, P., Alexander, L., Erchov, S. (in press). Sources of variance in end-of-course student evaluations. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education.

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


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

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)