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David Purpura, PhD

Research Interests

Preschool mathematics and reading, home numeracy and literacy environment, behavioral and cognitive development, interventions for children at-risk of later mathematics difficulties


I joined the Purdue faculty in the fall of 2012 after completing a US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois in the College of Education. I received my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Florida State University in 2010. You could say that I study the ABCs of the 123s! In my research, I focus on understanding how young children in preschool through 3rd grade learn math and early identification of children at-risk for later math difficulties. My current focus is on evaluating the effects of literacy and executive functioning skills on the development of young children’s mathematical knowledge as well as on evaluating interventions and instructional methods that enhance this development. In my lab we also study the home numeracy and literacy environment and how home factors affect children’s academic skills at preschool entry.

Selected Publications

  • Baroody, A. J., Purpura, D. J., Eiland, M. D., & Reid, E. E. (in press). The impact of highly and minimally guided discovery instruction on promoting the learning of reasoning strategies for basic add-1 and doubles combinations. Early Childhood Research Quarterly.
  • Sims, D. M., Purpura, D. J., & Lonigan, C. J. (in press). The relation between inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive behaviors and early mathematics skills. Journal of Attention Disorders.
  • Purpura, D. J., & Ganley, C. (2014). Working memory and language: Skill-specific or domain-general relations to mathematics? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 122, 104-121.
  • Baroody, A. J., Purpura, D. J., Eiland, M. D., & Reid, E. E. (2014). Fostering first-graders’ fluency with basic subtraction and larger addition combinations via computer-assisted instruction. Cognition and Instruction, 32, 159-197.
  • Purpura, D. J., Baroody, A. J., & Lonigan, C. J. (2013). The transition from informal to formal mathematical knowledge: Mediation by numeral knowledge. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105, 453-464.
  • Baroody, A. J., Eiland, M., Purpura, D. J., & Reid, E. E. (2013). Can computer-assisted discovery learning foster first graders' fluency with basic addition combinations? American Educational Research Journal, 50, 533-573.
  • 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). Informal numeracy skills: The structure and relations among numbering, relations, and arithmetic operations in preschool. American Educational Research Journal, 50, 178-209.
  • Li, X., Sun, Y., Baroody, A. J., & Purpura, D. J. (2013). The effect of language on Chinese and American 2- and 3-year olds’ small number identification. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 28, 1525-1542.
  • Baroody, A. J., Eiland, M. D., Purpura, D. J., & Reid, E. E. (2012). Fostering at-risk kindergarten children’s number sense. Cognition and Instruction, 30, 435-470.
  • Purpura, D. J., Hume, L., Sims, D., & Lonigan, C. J. (2011). Early literacy and early numeracy: The value of including early literacy skills in the prediction of numeracy development. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 110, 647-658.
  • Purpura, D. J., Wilson, S. B., & Lonigan, C. J. (2010). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms in preschool children: Examining psychometric properties using item response theory. Psychological Assessment, 22, 546-558.
  • Piasta, S. B., Purpura, D. J., & Wagner, R. (2010). Fostering alphabet knowledge development: A comparison of two instructional approaches. Reading and 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.


  • 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