Erik Ruzek

Research Assistant Professor


  • Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 2012
  • M.A., Duquesne University, 2005
  • B.A., University of California, Riverside, 1997

With a focus on middle and high schools, I study the impacts of classroom environments on students' motivation, engagement, and academic achievement. My research employs multiple methods for measuring the classroom climate and I have a particular interest on understanding and measuring students' interpretations of their unique experiences within the classroom. I primarily study the classroom perceptions and motivation of middle and high school students, and continue to work with colleagues on research on Pre-K instruction and children's academic development.

Selected Publications


Cohen, J. J., Ruzek E., & Sandilos, L. Does teaching quality cross subjects? Exploring consistency in elementary teacher practice across subjects. AERA Open, 4(3), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1177/2332858418794492   

Mikami, A. Y., Ruzek, E. A., Hafen, C. A., Gregory, A., & Allen, J. P. (2017). Perceptions of relatedness with classroom peers promote adolescents’ behavioral engagement and achievement in secondary school. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46(11), 2341–2354. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-017-0724-2

Schenke, K., Ruzek, E., Lam, A. C., Karabenick, S. A., & Eccles, J. S. (2017). Heterogeneity of student perceptions of the classroom climate: a latent profile approach. Learning Environments Research, 20(3), 289–306. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-017-9235-z

Shernoff, D. J., Ruzek, E. A., Sinha, S. (2017). The influence of the high school classroom environment on learning as mediated by student engagement. School Psychology International, 38(2), 201-218. https://doi.org/10.1177/0143034316666413

Wallace, T., Kelcey, B., and Ruzek, E. (2016). What can student perception surveys tell us about teaching? Empirically testing the underlying structure of the Tripod student perception survey. American Educational Research Journal, 53(6), 1834-1868. https://doi.org/10.3102/0002831216671864

Ruzek, E. A., Hafen, C. A., Allen, J. P., Gregory, A., Mikami, A. Y., & Pianta, R. C. (2016). How teacher emotional support motivates students: The mediating roles of perceived peer relatedness, autonomy support, and competence. Learning and Instruction, 42, 95-103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2016.01.004

Lam, A. C., Ruzek, E. A., Schenke, K., Conley, A. M., & Karabenick, S. A. (2015). Student perceptions of classroom achievement goal structure: Is it appropriate to aggregate? Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(4), 1102-1115. http://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000028

Ruzek, E. A. & Pianta, R. C. (2015). The value of using observational and student report methodologies in classroom research. In C. M. Rubie-Davies, J. M. Stephens, & P. Watson (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of Social Psychology of the Classroom (pp. 231-241). New York, NY: Routledge.

Ruzek, E. A., Domina, T., Conley, A. M., Duncan, G. J., and Karabenick, S. A. (2014). Using value-added models to measure teacher effects on students' motivation and achievement. Journal of Early Adolescence. https://doi.org/10.1177/0272431614525260

Ruzek, E. A., Hafen, C. A., Hamre, B. K., & Pianta, R. C. (2014). Combining classroom observations and value-added for the evaluation and professional development of teachers. In T. Kaine, K. Kerr, and B. Pianta (Eds.) Designing teacher evaluation systems: New guidance from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project (pp. 205-233). San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass

Ruzek, E., Burchinal, P., Farkas, G., and Duncan, G. J. (2014). The quality of toddler child care and cognitive outcomes at 24 months: Propensity score analysis results from the ECLS-B. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29(1), 12-21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2013.09.002