Jess Gropen, PhD, specializes in basic and applied research in cognitive science with a focus on language learning, early science development, and mathematics education. His work on executive function and conceptual change builds on contemporary research in cognitive science and is serving to inform instructional design.

Gropen is currently the principal investigator of the Literacy and Academic Success for English Learners through Science (LASErS) project, which is helping to improve science and literacy learning for children in Hartford, Connecticut. He also serves as an evaluation advisor to EdAdvance on Skills21STEMStarter: An Incubator and Launch Pad to STEM Entrepreneurship and Careers, a National Science Foundation ITEST project. Previously, he was the principal investigator of the IES-funded Cultivating Young Scientists project.

Before joining EDC, Gropen was an assistant professor at McGill University and Simmons College. He received a BA from Pomona College and a PhD in cognitive science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Speaking Highlights

Supporting STEM Learning for Young Children

Paper co-presentation, Building Bridges between Research and Practice: Supporting Early Childhood Education in Connecticut, Partnership for Early Education Research (PEER) Conference
May 24, 2016

Engaging Families to Advance Language Development for Young English Learners through Conversations around Science in Multiple Contexts and Languages

Webinar co-presentation, First Annual Webinar for the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement
September 16, 2015

A Multiple-Baseline Study to Test Preschoolers’ Incremental Science Learning after Teachers’ Participation in Content-Specific PD: Preliminary Findings

Poster co-presentation, Biannual Meeting of the Society for Research & Child Development
March 2015



Selected Publications

Gropen, J., Kook, J. F., Hoisington, C., & Clark-Chiarelli, N. (in press). Foundations of science literacy: Efficacy of a preschool professional development program in science on classroom instruction, teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge, and children’s observations and predictions. Early Education and Development.

Gropen, J., Clark-Chiarelli, N., Hoisington, C., & Ehrlich, S. (2011). The importance of executive function in early science education. Child Development Perspectives, 5(4), 298–304.

Selected Resources


This factsheet provides a brief overview of some of EDC’s work to ensure that all young children—especially those who live in low-income communities and are members of under-represented groups—can