Dr. Opfer and Dr. Zhou


1. John Opfer, Contributions of Numeracy and Numerical Acuity to Learning Gap Between Chinese and American Preschool Children.

John Opfer, who is affiliated with the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, is currently working on a collaborative study with SCIL in which he and his colleagues are examining the relative contributions of numeracy and numerical acuity to the learning gap that exists prior to schooling in Chinese and American children. Dr. Opfer visited SCIL from March 22-29, 2013. While there, he gave a presentation entitled “Representational Change in Childhood”. For more information about Dr. Opfer’s research and to download some of his publications, please visit his website at:

2. Yulia Kovas, Behavioral Genetics of Mathematics

Synopsis: Dr. Yulia Kovas is the director of InLab, International Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Investigations into Individual Differences in Learning, at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the director of the Laboratory for Cognitive Investigations and Behavioral Genetics at Tomsk State University. She also works on the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) in the UK and directs the Russian Twin School Registry. During her visit to the Sielger Center for Innovative Learning and BNU, she gave a talk on the recent advances in Behavioral Genetics in its application to Education.

In her talk, she focused on her own work that investigates genetic and environmental influences on individual differences in mathematical ability and related traits. She also participated in seminars and workshops. In addition, three of her PhD students from Goldsmiths, University of London, spent one month at BNU working on different collaborative projects. For more information about Dr. Kovas’ projects, please visit her website at:

3. Nancy Jordan, Russ Gersten, and Rob Ochsendorf, Fractions Learning

Nancy Jordan, Russ Gersten, and Rob Ochsendorf visited SCIL on July 13-14, 2014, to describe the work of the Center for Improving Learning of Fractions (CILF), a research and development center funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Educational Sciences. They and Dr. Siegler spoke at the Symposium on Fractions Learning at Beijing Normal University. Drs. Jordan, Gersten, and Ochsendorf, along with Lynn Fuchs and Robert Siegler, make up CILF’S research team. That center’s overarching goal is to improve math instruction for elementary and middle school children who have problems with math concepts, specifically fractions. CILF combines small-scale experimental studies, a longitudinal study to identify key predictors of future learning difficulties with fractions, and intervention studies to help children learn fractions more effectively. For more information, please visit the CILF website at: