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David Purpura, PhD

Research Interests

Early mathematics development, behavioral problems, item response theory, assessment and measure development, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), preschool and early elementary mathematics interventions


I joined the Purdue faculty in the fall of 2012, after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the College of Education. I received my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Florida State University in 2010. My research spans the areas of both typical and atypical child academic and behavioral development. I believe that in order to identify and remediate issues in atypical development, it is critical to understand and reliably measure the constructs of typical development. I am particularly interested in the construct evaluation and measurement of early mathematics development and behavioral problems. Specifically, I have focused on four main areas of research.

(1) Identifying factors, such as attention and language deficits, that inhibit children's successful academic development.

(2) Developing reliable, valid, and efficient measures of mathematical skills and behavioral problems.

(3) Constructing mathematical learning trajectories (the ordering of the development of mathematical skills/concepts).

(4) Developing and evaluating effective mathematics interventions for typically-developing children and children at-risk of later academic difficulties.

Selected Publications

  • Purpura, D. J., Baroody, A. J., & Lonigan, C. J. (in press). The transition from informal to formal mathematical knowledge: Mediation by numeral knowledge. Journal of Educational Psychology.
  • Baroody, A. J., Eiland, M., Purpura, D. J., & Reid, E. E. (in press). Can computer-assisted discovery learning foster first graders' fluency with basic addition combinations? American Educational Research Journal.
  • Sims, D. M., Purpura, D. J., & Lonigan, C. J. (in press). The relation between ADHD-characteristic behaviors and early mathematic skills. Journal of Attention Disorders.
  • Li, X., Sun, Y., Baroody, A.J., & Purpura, D. J. (in press). The effects of language on Chinese and American 2- and 3-year olds' recognition of small numbers. European Journal of Psychology of Education.
  • Lonigan, C. J., Purpura, D. J., Wilson, S. B., Walker, P. M., & Clancy-Menchetti, J. (2013). Evaluating the components of an emergent literacy intervention for children at-risk of reading difficulties. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 114, 111-130.
  • Purpura, D. J., & Lonigan, C. J. (2013). Early numeracy skills: An examination of the structure of and relations among these skills in preschool. American Educational Research Journal, 50, 178-209.
  • Baroody, A. J., Eiland, M. D., Purpura, D. J., & Reid, E. E. (2012). Fostering at-risk kindergarten children's number sense. Cognition & Instruction, 30, 435-470.
  • Purpura, D. J., Hume, L., Sims, D., & Lonigan, C. J. (2011). Emergent literacy and mathematics: The value of including emergent literacy skills in the prediction of mathematics development. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 110, 647-658.
  • Baroody, A. J., Purpura, D. J., & Reid, E. E. (2011). Comments on learning and teaching early and elementary mathematics. In Carlson & J. Levin (Eds.), Psychological perspectives on contemporary educational issues, Vol. 3. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  • Baroody, A. J., Purpura, D. J., & Reid, E. E. (2011). Early childhood mathematics education. In P. Schuermann (Ed.), Oxford bibliographies online. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Purpura, D. J., Wilson, S. B., & Lonigan, C. J. (2010). ADHD symptoms in preschool children: Examining psychometric properties using IRT. Psychological Assessment, 22, 546-558.
  • Piasta, S. B., Purpura, D. J., & Wagner, R. (2010). Developing emergent literacy skills: The impact of alphabet instruction. Reading & Writing, 23, 607-626.
  • Purpura, D. J., & Lonigan C. J. (2009). Conner's Teacher Rating Scale for preschool children: A revised, brief, age-specific measure. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 38, 263-272.
  • Lonigan, C. J., Anthony, J. L., Phillips, B. M., Purpura, D. J., Wilson, S. B., & McQueen, J. D. (2009). The nature of preschool phonological processing abilities and their relations to vocabulary, general cognitive abilities, and print knowledge. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 345-358.


  • 2010 – 2012  Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2010              PhD, Clinical Psychology, Florida State University
  • 2007              MS, Clinical Psychology, Florida State University
  • 2005              BA, Psychology, Purdue University