Heather Bachman, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Applied Developmental Psychology

Graduate Student Advisee

Linsah Coulanges 

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Policy Research, Northwestern University
  • PhD, Loyola University Chicago

Research Interest Summary

School Readiness; Achievement; Home & Classroom Processes; Low-income Families

Research Interests

My research agenda centers on early academic and social development, family and classroom processes, and policy-relevant research with low-income children and families. I have been funded by the NICHD, the NSF, the Spencer Foundation, the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, and the Learning, Research, and Development Center to examine key contextual factors in the home, classroom, and public policies that promote low-income children’s well-being. My research is informed by a variety of multidisciplinary perspectives including developmental psychology, education, sociology, and economics. My work involves longitudinal secondary data analysis of large datasets to examine national trends, coupled with regional, mixed methods, primary data collection with community partner organizations to unpack mechanisms and processes. Most of my prior work with large, longitudinal data sets involved studying the contribution of home and classroom characteristics for attenuating or exacerbating income disparities in achievement and behaviors during the pre-K and elementary school years in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K, 1998 & 2010 cohorts). In my regional work, for three years (2007-2010), I was funded by the Spencer Foundation to collect time-sampled classroom observations, parent interviews, and math, reading, and socioemotional child assessments from 289 families from 30 child care centers in low-income communities (the Pitt School Readiness Study). We recently completed an LRDC-funded pilot project with 50 families with 4 year-old children to collect multi-method measurement of home math enrichment and family processes to predict early numeracy and spatial skills. The project team is currently launching two new federally funded projects with families of 4 year-olds (NICHD) and 2 year-olds (NSF) to examine home environment influences on early math development across SES. The Co-PI’s on these two projects are Melissa Libertus and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal.

Representative Publications

Bachman, H. J., Elliott, L., Scott, P., & Navarro, M. G. (in press). Latino children’s academic and behavioral trajectories in early elementary school: Examining home language differences within preschool types. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2018.04.005

Elliott, L., & Bachman, H. J. (2018). SES disparities in early math abilities: The contributions of parents’ math cognitions, practices to support math, and math talk. Developmental Review, 49, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2018.08.001

Elliott, L. & Bachman, H. J. (2018). How do parents foster young children’s math skills? Child Development Perspectives, 12(1), 16-21.

Bachman, H. J., Degol, J. L., Elliott, L., Scharphorn, L., El Nokali, N. E., & Palmer, K. M. (2017). Preschool math exposure in private center-based care and low-SES children’s math development. Early Education and Development, 29, 417-434.

Bachman, H. J., Votruba-Drzal, E., El Nokali, N. & Heatly, M. C. (2015). Opportunities for learning math in elementary school: Implications for SES disparities in procedural and conceptual math skills. American Educational Research Journal, 52, 894-923.

Heatly, M. C., Bachman, H. J., & Votruba-Drzal., E. (2015). Developmental patterns in the associations between instructional practice and children’s math skill trajectories in elementary school. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 41, 46-59.

Bachman, H. J., Coley, R. L., & Carrano, J. (2012). Low-income mothers’ patterns of partnership instability and adolescents’ behavioral and emotional well-being. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 263-273. DOI: 10.1037/a0027427.

Bachman, H. J., Coley, R. L., & Chase-Lansdale, P. L. (2009). Is maternal marriage beneficial for low-income income adolescents? Applied Developmental Science, 13, 153-171.

Bachman, H. J., Coley, R. L., & Carrano, J. (2011). Maternal relationship instability influences on childrens emotional and behavioral functioning in low-income families. Manuscript accepted for publication at Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. DOI: 10.1007/s10802-011-9535-1.

Morrison, F. J., Bachman, H. J., & Connor, C. M. (2005). Improving literacy in America: Guidelines from research. Yale University Press: New Haven, CT. 

Bachman, H. J., Coley, R. L., & Carrano, J. (2012). Low-income mothers patterns of partnership instability and adolescents behavioral and emotional well-being. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 263-273. DOI: 10.1037/a0027427.

El Nokali, N., Bachman, H. J., & Votruba-Drzal, E. (2010). Parent involvement and childrens academic achievement and social development in elementary school. Child Development, 81, 988-1005. 

El Nokali, N.E., Bachman, H. J., & Votruba-Drzal, E. (2010) Parent involvement and childrens academic and social development in elementary school. Child Development, 988 - 1005.

Accepting Graduate Students