Carnegie Mellon University

Sharon Carver

Sharon Carver

Director, Children's School, Professor of Psychology (Teaching)

Areas of Expertise

Developmental, Learning Science


As director of the Carnegie Mellon Children's School, my primary research focus is on supporting the work of researchers who either utilize the Children's School as a research site or collaborate with educators in local charter and private schools. I also serve on the university's Institutional Review Board (IRB).

My research bridges the domains of cognitive development and educational psychology. My primary interests involve combining cognitive task analysis, instructional design based on cognitive principles, and focused assessment to explore how children's progress can be enhanced to promote deep learning and broad transfer.

I am currently consulting and collaborating on two funded research projects:

  • Message from Me: enabling young children to record their daily experiences via photos and spoken messages for sending to their parents' cell phones or email (PI: Dr. Illah Nourbakhsh with funding from PNC's Grow Up Great program)
  • Classroom Environment, Allocation of Attention, and Learning Outcomes in K-4 Students: exploring the impact of classroom visual displays on children's ability to attend and learn from teacher lessons (PI: Dr. Anna Fisher with funding from the Institute of Education Sciences - IES)


Frye, D., Baroody, A., Burchinal, M., Carver, S. M., Jordan, N. C., & McDowell, J. (2013). Teaching math to young children: A practice guide (NCEE#). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

Carver, S. M., & Shrager, J. (2012). The Psychology of Science, Science Education, and the Impact of David Klahr. In S. Carver & J. Shrager (Eds.), The journey from child to scientist: Integrating cognitive development and the education sciences. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Vlach, H.A. and Carver, S.M. (2008). The Effects of Observation Coaching on Children’s Graphic Representations. Early Childhood Research and Practice.

Carver, S.M. (2008). Experimental approaches for overcoming practical challenges of classroom research. In Applying Cognitive Development and Cognitive Research to K-3 Classroom Learning. Thurman, S.K and Fiorello, C.A. (Eds.).

Carver, S.M. (2006). Assessing for Deep Understanding. In Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. R. K. Sawyer (Ed). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Carver, S.M. (2001). Cognition and instruction: Enriching the laboratory school experience of children, teachers, parents, and undergraduates. In Cognition and instruction: Twenty-five years of progress. Carver, S.M. and Klahr, D. (Eds.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.