College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Timothy Curby, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

PhD, Educational Psychology, University of Virginia

Key Interests
Longitudinal Methods | Early Childhood | Teacher-Child Interactions | Classroom Quality | Statistical Modeling | Schools
Phone: 703-993-2457 | Email:

Research Focus

My work focuses on examining the role teacher–student interactions have in promoting children’s development, particularly in regards to children’s social–emotional outcomes. I consistently apply advanced statistical models to school-based research modeling both the nesting of kids in classrooms and developmental processes. Among others, questions that my lab asks are: What are the interactions of an effective teacher like? For whom are they effective? Why do some children do so well with one teacher but not another?

Current Projects

■ Development and Preliminary Validation of the Emotional Teacher Rating Scale (EMOTERS) for Preschool Classrooms: Children learn social-emotional skills throughout the day, not just when the class is doing a social-emotional lesson. Teachers model, instruct, respond, and relate to children in ways that can help promote (or hinder) children’s development of emotional competence. In conjunction with the Social-Emotional Teaching and Learning Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago, we are conducting an Department of Education-funded study to develop an observational measure of social-emotional teaching in preschool classrooms.

■ Variability in Teacher-Child Interactions: Levels of emotional, organizational, and instructional support from teachers have been linked to the development of academic, regulatory, and social skills of children. However, not only the levels, but the variability that children experience in interactions with teachers also seems to be important. We are currently working on several manuscripts that examine how variability in emotional support is related to the academic and social development of children.

Select Publications

T. W. Curby et al., Sources of variance in end-of-course student evaluations. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education (2019).

■ T. W. Curby et al., Kindergarten teacher perceptions of kindergarten readiness: the importance of social- emotional skills. Perspectives on Early Childhood Psychology and Education 2(2), 115-137 (2017).

T. W. Curby et al., Live versus video observations: comparing the reliability and validity of two methods of assessing classroom quality. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 34(8), 765-781 (2016).

T. W. Curby et al., Associations between preschoolers’ social-emotional competence and preliteracy skills. Infant and Child Development 24, 549-570 (2015).


David King Hall | 10428 Rivanna River Way, Fairfax, VA 22030