Jessica Mercer Young, PhD, is a researcher dedicated to improving young children’s school readiness skills, approaches to learning, and academic achievement. She works primarily in the domain of mathematics education, with an emphasis on vulnerable and at-risk populations. Her work aims to create engaging, age-appropriate interventions that support children’s positive approaches to learning and school success.

A former preschool teacher, Young focuses on the intersection of developmental science and early childhood education. She is currently investigating whether game-based mathematics interventions can improve preschool students’ mathematical thinking and persistence at challenging tasks. Through a study of preschool teacher practices, Young is also investigating the potential of a math and mindset intervention to promote teachers’ mathematics instruction, math talk, and appropriate feedback and praise.

Young has written widely on the topics of early childhood education and development. She has served as a reviewer for Early Childhood Research Quarterly and Infant and Child Development and has contributed to multiple early childhood research and policy projects.

Young received a BA in psychology from Boston College, an EdM in human development and psychology from Harvard University, and a PhD in developmental and educational psychology from Boston College.

"We should never underestimate the importance of high-quality early childhood education and its role in creating equitable opportunities for all children."


Family Engagement in Early Mathematics: Teacher Practices Observation Study

Speaking Highlights

Games for Young Mathematicians: Mathematics Learning and Persistence in Preschool

Co-presentation, Massachusetts STEM Summit
Worcester, MA
November 2016

The Effect of District Support for Implementation of Mathematics Materials: A Longitudinal Analysis of Fourth Grade Student Outcomes

Co-presentation, American Educational Research Association Conference
Chicago, IL
April 2015

Preschool Mathematics Practice: Learning to Make Sense and Persevere

Co-presentation, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference
Boston, MA
April 2015



5 Math Games to Inspire Young Minds
EDC, September 28, 2016

Selected Publications

Hoisington, C., Young, J. M., Anastasopoulos, L., & Washburn, S. (2015). Building a classroom community that supports English learners in preschool. National Head Start Association: Dialog. 18(2), 1–30.

Hauser-Cram, P., Howell, A. N., & Young, J. M. (2012). The importance of mother-child interaction to the development of children with Down syndrome or Williams syndrome. In J. Burack, R. Hodapp, G. Larocci, & E. Zigler (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of intellectual disability and development (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University.

Casey, B., Erkut, S., Ceder, I., & Young, J. M. (2008). Use of a storytelling context to improve girls’ and boys’ geometry skills in kindergarten. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29(1), 29–48.

Young, J. M., & Hauser-Cram, P. (2006). Mother-child interaction as a predictor of mastery motivation in children with disabilities born preterm. Journal of Early Intervention, 28,(4), 252–258.