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Quality assessments, groundbreaking research and measurement, and user-driven educational solutions

Learn more about ETS Research & Development.


Cognitive and Learning Sciences Group

The Cognitive and Learning Sciences Group at ETS has wide-ranging expertise in the universal human cognitive processes of:

  • perception and attention
  • working memory
  • reasoning and problem-solving
  • decision making
  • learning

This group also has expertise in social cognition, such as collaborative problem-solving, motivation, engagement and self-regulation.

Applied research

We apply our expertise to foundational research questions and in applied work to enhance educational products and services. In our research, we apply a broad range of methodologies, including:

  • experimental research, survey and protocol methods (e.g., think-aloud or digital log file capture)
  • computational cognitive modeling
  • complex statistical data modeling (supervised and unsupervised)
  • learning analytics
  • theoretically grounded educational data mining

Current projects

  • Measuring collaborative problem-solving skills
  • Effects of assessment design on student cognition and motivation
  • Developing algorithms to support students' educational choices

Sample publications

Andrews-Todd, J., & Forsyth, C. M. (2020). Exploring social and cognitive dimensions of collaborative problem solving in an open online simulation-based task. Computers in human behavior, 104, 105759.

Arslan, B., Jiang, Y., Keehner, M., Gong, T., Katz, I. R., & Yan, F. (2020). The Effect of Drag‐and‐Drop Item Features on Test‐Taker Performance and Response Strategies. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 39(2), 96–106.

Finn, B. (2020). Exploring interactions between motivation and cognition to better shape self-regulated learning.  Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 9(4), 461–467.

Kannan, P., Bryant, A. D., Shao, S., & Wylie, E. C. (2021). Identifying Teachers' Needs for Results From Interim Unit Assessments. ETS Research Report Series.