Dr. Kelly R. Fisher

SLI Title

Associate Director, Science of Learning Institute; Director, Dissemination, Translation, & Education, Science of Learning Institute;  and Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Cognitive Science

Bio

Dr. Kelly Fisher is the Associate Director of the Science of Learning Institute, and the Director of Dissemination, Translation, & Education activities. She is also an Assistant Research Scientist in the Department of Cognitive Science. Kelly develops and oversees the strategic planning and operations of the Institute, with the goal of fostering innovative, interdisciplinary science of learning research and building meaningful connections between research, practice, and policy.

Bridging developmental science, industrial-organizational psychology, education, and public policy, Dr. Fisher's research explores how different features of the learning environment influence understanding and skill development in children and adults. Some of Kelly’s recent projects investigate how teaching practices (e.g., guided play, direct instruction) differentially impact children’s academic readiness  (e.g., early geometric knowledge, executive functioning), how arts-enriched experiences promote cognitive and socio-emotional skills, and how teachers' data use efficacy influences how they individualize instruction in their classrooms.

Kelly's work is driven by her strong commitment to use science to improve educational outcomes in society. She works with community organizations, businesses, and government to (1) identify programmatic needs, (2) translate science of learning research into evidence-informed practices and policies and (3) facilitate educational program improvement through program evaluation and system alignment processes. Over the last decade she has worked with a variety of partners, including federally-funded preschool programs, elementary schools, children's museums, rehabilitation hospitals, and family service providers.

Prior to her position at the Institute, Kelly served as an Executive Branch Science and Technology Fellow in Washington, DC, a fellowship sponsored by the Society for Research and Child Development (SRCD) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). As a SRCD/AAAS fellow, she initiated and supervised new federal research projects aimed at improving organizational capacity and data-driven decision making in Head Start early childhood education programs at the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of the Administration for Children in Families. Her projects included the examination of how program leaders use data to inform goals and continuous quality improvement, how teachers use data to individualize instructional practices, and how programs use technology to improve learning outcomes. 

Kelly completed her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at Temple University and a M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Missouri State University.

 

PUBLICATIONS

Holochwost, S., Propper, C.B., Jacek, K., Vope, V., & Fisher, K. (in preparation). Making the case for music education: Benefits to executive functions and transfer to academic domains.

Zosh, J., Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R.M.  (2013). The “Ultimate Block Party” translational science event: Bridging the science of learning and the importance of play. In New York Hall of Science (Ed), Design, Make, Play: Growing the next generation of STEM Innovators. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.

Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Newcombe, N., & Golinkoff, R.M. (2013). Taking shape: How teaching practices impact preschoolers’ geometric knowledge. Child Development, 84, 1872 – 1878.

Fisher, K. & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2012). Fostering mathematical thinking through playful learning. In S. Saggate & E. Reese (Eds.), Contemporary Debates on Child Development and Education.

Reed, J., Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R. M. (2012, April). The art of the matter: Playful learning in an Arts-enriched preschool. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R.M., Berk, L., & Singer, D. (2011). Playing around in school: Implications for learning and educational policy. In A. Pellegrini (Ed), Handbook of the Development of Play (pp. 341-362). New York, NY: Oxford Press.

Fisher, K., Marshall, M., & Nanayakkara, A. (2009). Motivational orientation, error monitoring, and academic performance in middle childhood: A behavioral and electrophysiological investigation. Mind, Brain, and Education, 3, 56-63.

Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R.M., & Glick Gryfe, S. (2008). Conceptual split? Parents' and experts' perceptions of play in the 21st century. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29, 305-316.

 

POLICY REPORTS, BRIEFS, AND WHITE PAPERS

Fisher, K., Gagnier, K., & Holochwost, S. (in preparation). Translating psychological science to practice: A new model.

Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation. (2013). Conceptualizing and measuring collaboration in the context of early childhood care and education (OPRE Research Brief  2013-29). Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation. (2012). Friendly FACES: Charting children’s learning and development through one year in Head Start (2009 cohort).

Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation. (2012). Friendly FACES: Charting children’s learning and development through Head Start (2006 cohort).

Secretary’s Advisory Committee. (2012). Report to the secretary on Head Start research and evaluation.

 

TECHNICAL REPORTS

Holochwost, S., Fisher, K., & Wolf, D. (in preparation). Exploring the socioemotional benefits of arts education: A literature review. Technical report for the William Penn Foundation.

Fisher, K. & Nanayakkara, A. (2011). Sri Lanka community reintegration project for persons with disabilities: Viability assessment. Technical report for Global Abilities Foundation.

Fisher, K. & Zosh, J. (2010).  NSF Science of Learning Centers workshop report: Translational science initiatives: Ultimate Block Party and beyond. Technical report for the National Science Foundation. Center for Re-Imagining Children’s Learning and Education Philadelphia, PA.

Jones, R., Fisher, K., Thomas, J., King, H., Friedel, K., Witt, E., Turner, A., Montgomery, M., Ward, K., Guo, X., Barber, L., Cherry, C., & Sidwell, A. (2005). Evaluating the efficacy of alternative predictors of student retention and success in higher education. Technical report for Wonderlic, Inc, and Hogan Assessments.

 Fisher, K., Thomas, J., Cherry, C., & Ward, K.  (2004). Client evaluation of the Greene County Common Ground Supervised Access Program. Technical report. Springfield, MO.

Fisher, K. & Thomas, J. (2004). Evaluation protocol for Greene County Juvenile Court Mediation Program. Technical report. Springfield, MO.

Fisher, K. & Turner, A. (2004). Hearing panel training program for the Office of Judicial Programs. Technical report. Springfield, MO.

Fisher, K. (2003). A validation study of a pre-employment test used to make selection decisions. Technical report, Springfield, MO.

 

CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

Holochwost, S. J., Wolf, D. P., Propper, C. B., Fisher, K. F., Kolacz, J., & Volpe, V. V. (2015, Nov). Music education, academic achievement, & executive functions: The results of an experimental evaluation of a Sistema-Inspired music education program. Paper presented at the annual American Evaluation Association. Chicago, Ill.

Holochwost, S., Fisher, K., Kolacz, J., Volpe, V., & Propper, C. (2014, June). Making the case for music education: Benefits to executive functions and transfer to academic domains. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development Topical Meeting: Strengthening Connections Among Child and Family Research, Policy, and Practice. Alexandria, VA. 

Glazek, K., Fisher, K., Rouse, C., Schol, E., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R. (2013). Effects of instruction type on problem-solving and novelty preference in early childhood. Paper presented at the annual American Psychological Association Conference, Honolulu, HI.

Reed, J., Daubert, E., Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R. (2013).  A musical mosaic: Scaffolding school readiness skills via music instruction among Head Start preschoolers. Poster presented at the biennial Society for Research in Child Development conference, Seattle, WA.

Reed, J., Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R. (2012, April). Rethinking the role of the arts in 21st century education: Gateways to executive function in preschoolers. Symposium presented at the annual American Educational Research Association, Vancouver. British Columbia, Canada.

Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Newcombe, N., & Golinkoff, R. (2011, June). Fostering spatial thinking in early math: Content and pedagogy matter. In Kelly R. Fisher (Chair), Playing with space: Enhancing spatial thinking in early childhood for later academic success. Symposium presented at the biennial International Mind, Brain, and Education Society conference, San Diego, CA.

Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Newcombe, N., & Golinkoff, R. (2011, April). Untangling playful learning: The differential impact of free- and guided play pedagogies on children’s conceptual learning. Poster presented at the biennial Society or Research in Child Development conference, Montreal, Quebec.

Reed, J., Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R. (2011, April). The art of learning: The impact of arts-enriched preschool pedagogy on Head Start children’s school readiness skills. Poster presented at the biennial Society or Research in Child Development conference, Montreal, Quebec.

Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R. (2011, April). When playful learning trumps direct instruction: The case of shape learning. In T’Pring Westbrook (Chair), Playful Learning and Policy. Symposium paper presented at the biennial Society for Research in Child Development conference, Montreal, Quebec.

Fisher, K., Ferrara, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Newcombe, N. & Golinkoff, R. (2010, March). Exploring the role of dialogic inquiry and exploration in guided play: An experimental study. Poster presented at the biennial International Conference on Infant Studies, Baltimore, MD.

Fisher, K., Ferrara, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Newcombe, N., & Golinkoff, R. (2009, October). Transforming preschoolers’ geometric shape knowledge: Exploring verbalizations and gestures during a categorization task. Poster presented at the biennial Cognitive Development Society conference, San Antonio, TX.

Fisher, K. (2009, May). How play works: Understanding the elements of early learning. Symposium paper presented at the biennial Mind, Brain, and Education Society conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R. (2009, April). Exploring the roots of early education from an informal learning perspective. Poster presented at the biennial Society for Research in Child Development conference, Denver, Colorado.

Fisher, K., Nash, B., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Newcombe, N., & Golinkoff, R. (2009, April). Breaking the mold: Altering preschoolers’ concepts of geometric shapes. Poster presented at the biennial Society for Research in Child Development conference, Denver, Colorado.

Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Newcombe, N. (2009, February). Altering preschoolers’ concepts of geometric shapes through playful, exploratory learning. Poster presented at the annual Inter-science of Learning Center Student and Post-doc Conference, Seattle, Washington.

Goksun, T., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Fisher, K., Misitzis, Y., Ferrara, K., & Golinkoff, R. (2009, April). Forces in action: Exploring preschoolers' causal understanding. Poster presented at the biennial Society for Research in Child Development, Denver, Colorado.

Wong, W., Uribe-Zarain, X., Fisher, K., Golinkoff, R. M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K.  (2008, June).  Parents' views of the benefits claimed in educational toy advertising. Poster presented at the 7th International Conference on Interaction Design & Children, Chicago, USA.

Wong, W., Fisher, K., Uribe-Zarain, X., Ma, W., Golinkoff, R. M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K.  (2008, March).  “Educational toys”: Do parents believe the hype? Poster presented at the International Conference on Infant Studies, Vancouver, Canada.

Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R.M. (2007, October). Mother versus expert beliefs: Disagreement in the nature and value of play. Symposium presented at the biennial Cognitive Development Society conference, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, & Glick-Gryfe, S. (2007, June). Not just child’s play anymore: Parental perceptions of play in the 21st century. Poster presented at the annual Jean Piaget Society conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Fisher, K., Nanayakkara, A., & Marshall, P. (2007, June). An evolving complementary: Neurophysiological and behavioral correlates to error monitoring and student motivation. Poster presented at the annual Jean Piaget Society conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

Parish-Morris, J., Fisher, K., Goksun, T., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R. M., & Richardson, A. (2007, June). Talking books: What kind of parental talk do they promote? Paper presented at Jean Piaget Society conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Fisher, K., Marshall, P. J., & Shipley, T. (2007, March). Activation of the infant mirror neuron system during observation of point-light walkers.  Poster presented at the biennial Society for Research on Child Development conference, Boston, MA.

Fisher, K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R.  (2007, March). Conceptual drift? Parent vs. expert perceptions of play. Poster presented at the Eastern Psychological Association conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Fisher, K. (2005, May). The effects of developmental advisement on self-regulation and commitment. Poster presented at 2005 Missouri State University Graduate Interdisciplinary Forum.

Drollinger, S. M., Gora, K. M., Mitchell, D. W., & Fisher, K. (2003, August).  Phasic changes in evoked heart rate as a function of discrimination training. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association conference, Atlanta, GA.