Faculty & Staff
Matthew E. Foster, PhD
Achievement in children from historically marginalized backgrounds
Dr. Foster is an assistant professor at the University of South Florida in the Department of Child and Family Studies. He joined USF as part of the Rightpath Research and Innovation Center.
Prior to completing a doctoral degree in developmental psychology at Georgia State University, Dr. Foster completed a master’s degree in Special Education at Auburn University. He worked with children with emotional and behavioral disorders, mild intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders for over 10 years. His experience working with school systems and conducting research in educational settings is extensive.
His research seeks to foster achievement in children from historically marginalized backgrounds (e.g., children with and without disabilities, and from low-income, racial, and linguistically diverse backgrounds). In particular, Dr. Foster’s research agenda focuses on three themes: (1) individual differences related to academic achievement and social-emotional development; (2) interventions and evidence-based practices that foster language and academic achievement; and (3) developing early childhood progress monitoring and kindergarten readiness assessments.
Using contemporary statistical models, Dr. Foster’s research shows that the prediction of math achievement from cognitive and linguistic abilities is stronger among Spanish-speaking dual language learners (DLLs) than monolingual English speakers and that status as a DLL alone does not place DLLs at risk for poor academic achievement. Undergraduate and doctoral students working with Dr. Foster learn to apply contemporary statistical methods to understand individual differences related to academic achievement and social-emotional development as well as identify the impact of interventions that promote language development and achievement.