David W. Grissmer

Research Professor in CASTL

Phone: 434-243-8200
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Location: 2200 Old Ivy Road
Department: CASTL


  • Ph.D., Purdue University, 1968
  • M.S., Purdue University, 1964
  • B.S., Xavier University, 1962

Personal Statement

One of my current research interests is directed toward understanding the origin of the gaps in achievement between black, Hispanic and white students and between advantaged and disadvantaged students. I am studying the developmental origins of these cognitive gaps prior to school entry using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey of entering kindergarten students (ECLS-K) and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey of a birth cohort (ECLS-B). The research involves understanding the strong relationships between cognitive skills and earlier forming motor and attentional skills, their relationship to “executive function” and tracing these relationships and links using evidence from developmental neuroscience.

A second research interest of mine is improving research and development (R&D) policy in funding educational research. This research involves assessing the contributions of various research methods to the development of theories that can predict the effects of large scale programs in education including random controlled experimentation, quasi-experimentation, random controlled trials with multiple methods, natural experiments and research with non-experimental data. This research is directed toward outlining a viable long run R&D policy that integrates the contributions from different research methods, and supports the development of a branch of research directed toward theoretical integration of education research with developmental neuroscience and other contributing fields.

Research Interests

Developmental origins of achievement gaps, links between cognitive, motor, attentional and executive function skills, effects of “non-cognitive” skills and hormonal responses on cognitive development and performance, R&D funding policy in educational research that provides a theoretical perspective on integrating research from developmental neuroscience.