Madeleine Keehner was the director of the Cognitive and Learning Sciences group in the Research & Development division at ETS until January 2023. She received a Ph.D. in experimental cognitive psychology from the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. Prior to joining ETS in 2011, she held faculty positions in Scotland and Western Australia and at University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Santa Barbara. Her postdoctoral work focused on individual differences in visuospatial cognition and skilled performance in the science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines and medicine, especially during learning and reasoning activities using digital representations and interactive simulations.
At ETS, Keehner studied learner behaviors captured in digital log files by technology-enhanced assessment items, extended digital performance tasks, and interactive simulations, and she collaborated with colleagues to generate cognitive models of these process data traces. She also used cognitive science research and theory to help to inform the design of interactive tasks and thus enhance what can be inferred from the resulting process data. Keehner consulted with practitioners on the implications for digital task design of foundational principles from cognitive science, such as cognitive load, design affordances, interactivity, attention, perception, and working memory, and much of her research and consultancy work has been applied to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). She was the executive director of the NAEP Survey Assessment Innovations Lab, a research arm of NAEP with multiple projects exploring foundational research questions, design principles, and potential technological innovations, with the goal of informing and enhancing the future of NAEP and large-scale assessment more broadly.