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Teomara (Teya) Rutherford

Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology

Poe Hall 602C



Dr. Rutherford is an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology in TELS. In her research, she takes a social cognitive approach to understanding the barriers to and benefits of implementing digital learning tools in K-12 classrooms. In particular, she focuses on how cognitive skills, motivation, and regulation influence both implementation and learning.

Research Description

Dr. Rutherford is seeking graduate students (PhD and MS) interested in working on the following projects:

Evaluation for Actionable Change: A Data-Driven Approach, an NSF-funded project (Dr. Rutherford is PI) beginning January 2016. The project team will use data collected within the MIND Research Institute’s ST Math digital learning platform to develop behavior-based techniques to assess student progress within the system as well as to assess the quality of the existing interventions. This research will explore novel methods for detecting, visualizing, and evaluating students’ puzzle-solving and puzzle-selection behaviors. The project team will assess whether the detected patterns are driven by students’ incoming competence and/or can be used to predict their short and long-term performance.

Investigating Virtual Learning Environments, an NSF-funded project housed at the University of California, Irvine (Dr. Rutherford is a Co-PI at NC State) beginning fall 2015. The project studies 50 flipped, hybrid, and online STEM courses offered in a major research university over a five-year period. Experimental and quasi-experimental techniques will be used to compare the impact of virtual courses compared to traditional courses taught by the same instructor on students’ attitudes toward STEM study, learning outcomes, and success and persistence in future STEM courses. Dr. Rutherford’s work on this project focuses on student motivation and persistence in STEM.

Additional work in Dr. Rutherford’s lab includes exploring the cognitive and motivation factors that influence student success in a large-scale field experiment of a digital learning platform, physiological correlates of persistence and motivation in digital environments, and the role of teachers and institutional structures in the implementation and success of educational interventions.


Doctor of Philosophy in Learning, Cognition, and Development from University of California, Irvine in (2014)
Master of Arts in Learning, Cognition, and Development from University of California, Irvine in (2012)
Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law in (2003)
Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (Computers in the Classroom) from Florida International University in (1997)


Selected Scholarly Publications

  • Rutherford, T., Buschkuehl, M., Jaeggi, S. M., & Farkas, G. (In press) Links between achievement, executive functions, and Self-Regulated Learning. Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology. doi: 10.1002/acp.3462
  • Kunze, A. & Rutherford, T. (In press) Blood from a stone: Where teachers report finding time for Computer-Based Instruction. Computers & Education. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2018.08.022
  • Karamarkovich, S. M. & Rutherford, T. (In press) Fraction errors in a digital mathematics environment: Latent class and latent transition analysis. Journal of Numerical Cognition.
  • Rutherford, T., Karamarkovich, S. M., & Lee, D. S. (2018) Is the spatial/math connection unique? Associations between mental rotation and elementary mathematics and English achievement. Learning & Individual Differences, 62, 180-199. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2018.01.014
  • Callaghan, M., Long, J. J., vanEs, E. A., Reich, S., & Rutherford, T. (2018) How teachers integrate a math computer game: Professional development use, teaching practices, and effects on student achievement. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. doi: 10.1111/jcal.12209
  • Rutherford, T. (2017) The measurement of calibration in real-world contexts. Learning and Instruction, 47, 33-42.
  • Rutherford, T. (2017) Within and between person associations of calibration and achievement. Contemporary Educational Psychology. doi: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2017.03.001
  • Rutherford, T., Long, J. J., & Farkas, G. (2017) Teacher value for professional development, self-efficacy, and student outcomes within a digital mathematics intervention. Contemporary Educational Psychology. doi: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2017.05.005
  • Kelly, D. & Rutherford, T. (2017). Khan Academy as complementary instruction: A controlled study of a computer-based mathematics intervention. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning.
  • Schenke, K., Rutherford, T., Lam, A. C., & Bailey, D. (2016) Construct confounding among predictors of mathematics achievement. AERA Open, 2(2).
  • Simzar, R. M., Martinez, M., Rutherford, T., Domina, T., & Conley, A. M. (2015). Raising the stakes: How students' motivation for mathematics associates with high-and low-stakes test achievement. Learning and Individual Differences, 39, 49-63.
  • Rutherford, T. (2015). Emotional well-being and discrepancies between child and parent educational expectations and aspirations in middle and high school. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 20(1), 69-85. doi:10.1080/02673843.2013.767742
  • Rutherford, T., Farkas, G., Duncan, G., Burchinal, M., Graham, J., Kibrick, M.,…Martinez, M. E. (2014) A randomized trial of an elementary school mathematics software intervention: Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 7(4), 358-383. doi: 10.1080/19345747.2013.856978
  • Schenke, K., Rutherford, T., & Farkas, G. (2014) Alignment of game design features and state mathematics standards: Do results reflect intentions? Computers & Education, 76, 215-224. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2014.03.019
  • Tran, N. A., Schneider, S., Duran, L., Conley, A. M., Richland, L., Burchinal, M., Rutherford, T., Kibrick, M., Osborne, K., Coulson, A., Antenore, F., Daniels, A., & Martinez, M. E. (2012). The effects of mathematics instruction using spatial temporal cognition on teacher efficacy and instructional practices. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(2), 340-349.
  • Proceedings:
  • Peddycord-Liu, Z., Harred, R., Karamarkovich, S. M., Barnes, T., Lynch, C., & Rutherford, T. (2018). Learning curve analysis in a large-scale, drill-and-practice serious math game: Where is learning supported? In Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education. London, UK.
  • Peddycord-Liu, Z., Cody, C., Kessler, S. M., Barnes, T., Lynch, C., & Rutherford, T. (2017). Using serious game analytics to inform digital curricular sequencing: What math objective should students play next? In Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY). Amsterdam.
  • Liu, Z., Cody, C., Barnes, T., Lynch, C., & Rutherford, T. (2017). The antecedents of and associations with elective replay in an educational game: Is replay worth it? In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Educational Data Mining. Wuhan, China.
  • Rutherford, T., Lee, D. S., & Martinez, M. E. (2011). Gender, spatial ability, and high-stakes testing. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 3237-3242). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Courses Taught

  • EDP 575 Multicultural Lifespan Development
  • ED 700 Introduction to Research Design
  • ED 709 Educational Psychology Interventions for Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills

Honors and Awards

  • APA Division 15 Pintrich Dissertation Prize
  • UC Educational Evaluation Center Fellow
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow

Research Areas