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Chandra Alston

Assistant Professor



A North Carolina native, Dr. Chandra L. Alston attended high school in Durham and taught high school English in Chapel Hill before heading to Stanford University, where she received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teacher Education. At Stanford, her work focused on pre-service teacher preparation and in-service teacher evaluation models. Her dissertation, funded by the National Academy of Education Adolescent Literacy Predoctoral Fellowships, investigated the writing instruction of teachers with higher value-added scores in predominately Black schools.

She has worked for over a decade preparing beginning middle and high school English teachers and studying the implications of educational policy reforms on literacy instruction. She currently works on projects funded by the Spencer Foundation and the James S. McDonnell Foundation.

Selected Scholarly Publications

  • Alston, C. L., Monte-Sano, C., Schleppegrell, M. J., & Harn, K. (2021). Teaching models of disciplinary argumentation in middle school social studies: A framework for supporting writing development. Journal of Writing Research, 13(2), 285-321.
  • Alston, C.L. & Danielson, K. (2021). Enacting thinking: Teacher candidates’ modeling writing strategies. Literacy Research and Instruction, 60(3), 199-219.
  • Lee, C.C., Falter, M.M., & Alston, C.L. (2021). Antiracist Teaching in English Language Arts: Toward a Full Humanity for All Students. Language Arts, 99(1), 56-59
  • Alston, C.L. (2020). Expanding conceptions of modeling writing to leverage student voices. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy.
  • Alston, C.L., Danielson, K., Dutro, E. & Cartun, A. (2018). Does a discussion by any other name sound the same?: Teaching discussion in three ELA methods courses. Journal of Teacher Education, 69(3), 225–238.
  • McGrew, S., Alston, C. L., & Fogo, B. (2018). Modeling as an example of representation. In Grossman, P. (Ed.), Teaching Core Practices in Teacher Education (pp. 35-55). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.
  • Alston, C.L. & Brown, M.T. (2015). Differences in intellectual challenge of writing tasks among higher and lower value-added English Language Arts teachers, Teachers College Record, 117(5).
  • Alston, C.L. & Barker, L.M. (2014). Reading for teaching: What we notice when we look at literature. English Journal, 103(4), 62-67.
  • Alston, C.L. (2012). Examining instructional practices, intellectual challenge, and supports for African American student writers. Research in the Teaching of English, 47(2), 112 – 144.

Courses Taught

  • ECI 509 Teacher as Writer (Special Topics)
  • ECI 306 Middle Grades Reading


Ph.D. Curriculum and Teacher Education Stanford University

M.A.T. Secondary English The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

B.A. English The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Area(s) of Expertise

Dr. Alston's research has come to center around 1) documenting instructional practices and materials that support literacy teachers to see, empower, and support children of color; 2) pedagogies and practices to support prospective literacy teachers in acknowledging and disrupting the systemic structural inequities in facilitating discussions and teaching writing; and, 3) investigating the extent to which educational policies, structures, and materials support observable, positive change in literacy teachers’ practice.