Stephanie Cawthon

Stephanie Cawthon

Associate Professor

School Psychology


Office & Hours

Office: SZB 506K
By Appointment Only. Please email me if you would like to set up a meeting.

(512) 471-0378

(512) 475-7641

View Website

Courses of Instruction

Mailing Address
Educ Psychol Dept
1 University Station D5800
Austin, Texas 78712
UT Mail Code: D5800

Full Vita
download vita (pdf)


Dr. Cawthon's work investigates issues of equity and access in education from multiple vantage points. Dr. Cawthon is a national expert on issues related to standardized assessment and students who are deaf or hard of hearing, particularly in the context of accountability reforms such as No Child Left Behind. She is the Associate Director for Research at the National Center for Educational and Employment Outcomes for Deaf Students (see project website at Dr. Cawthon also explores assessment issues such as the effects of accommodations or item modifications on test scores for students with disabilities and English Language Learners.

Dr. Cawthon also has a focus on access through instruction: Dr. Cawthon is a part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners looking at the potential of drama-based instruction for students from diverse backgrounds. This project focuses targeting teacher's pedagogical knowledge through innovtative, kinesthetic, and collaborative teaching strategies. See our videos and work in schools at


PHD Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Representative Publications

Cawthon, S. (2011). Accountability Reform and Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Gallaudet University Press.

Cawthon, S. & Dawson, K. (in press, 2011). Drama-Based Instruction and Educational Research: A Critical Pedagogical Approach to an Interdisciplinary Partnership and Praxis. International Journal of Education and the Arts.

Cawthon, S., Winton, S.,* Garberoglio, C.,* & Gobble, M.,* (2011). The effects of ASL as an accommodation for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 16(2): 198-211

Cawthon, S. (2007).  Hidden benefits and unintended consequences of No Child Left Behind polices for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing. American Educational Research Journal, 44 (3), 460-492.

Cawthon, S., Ho, E.,* Patel, P.,* Potvin, D., * & Trundt, K.* (2009). Towards a multiple construct model of measuring the validity of assessment accommodations. Practical Assessment, Evaluation, and Research 14 (21). Available online:

Recent Awards

  • 2011-2012       Dean’s Fellow, The University of Texas at Austin.
  • 2011-2012       Graduate School Diversity Mentoring Fellowship, The University of Texas at Austin.
  • 2009                Early Career Scholar, School Psychology Research Collaboration Conference, Toronto, Canada.
  • 2008                Outstanding Publications Competition(Second Place), Division H, American Educational Research Association

Current Research Projects and Grants

2011-2016 Center for Educational and Employment Outcomes for Deaf Students: PEPNET2. OSEP funded project,Associate Director for Research and Evidence Synthesis. ($2.4 million)

Co-Investigator, Impact of Modified Test Items for Students with Learning Disabilities, English Language Learners, and Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (2009-present). This project is a collaboration with project members from Achieving Accurate Results for Diverse Learners:  Accommodations and Access Enhanced Item Formats for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities. Analysis includes coding access-enhanced items for changes in linguistic, visual, and format complexity; measures of student performance on a statewide, standardized assessment; and investigation of interaction between student characteristics and item modifications.  

Co-Investigator,Validation of Accommodations on NAEP item scores using School, Student, and Item Characteristics in a Multilevel DIF Framework (2008- present). This project is a collaboration with Dr. Natasha Beretvas and includes several components: 1) Validation of a measure of Opportunity to Learn (OTL) using variables present in the NAEP dataset; 2) Coding released NAEP items for linguistic complexity as a relevant item characteristic; and 3) Analysis of the effects of accommodations on NAEP performance using a multilevel DIF and DDF approach.

2011  Arts Integration Research Funding. Co-Principal Investigator. Donor gift from Mary Cox to support arts integration for teachers from Victoria, Texas ($1,000).

2010-2012  Drama for Schools, Co-Principal Investigator. Bartlett Foundation Gift awarded to support arts integration at the Austin Discovery School ($45,000).

2010-2011  Arts Integration Research Tool Development, Principal Investigator. Funded by a mini-grant from mindPOP: Expanding Creative Learning in Austin ($2,500) and extended with an additional $5,000 for implementation.

2010-2011   Web-based Arts Integration PD Support Pilot, Co-Principal Investigator/Faculty Supervisor. Funded by a mini-grant from mindPOP: Expanding Creative Learning in Austin ($2,000).

2010-2011  Drama for Schools, Co-Principal Investigator. Subcontract to the McAllen Independent School District award from the U.S. Department of Education, Arts-Integration Grant CFDA 84.351c1 ($62,000).

Research Interests and Expertise

Deafness, assessment, accommodations, modifications, policy, access, research design, constructivist learning, drama-based instruction, mediators of student achievement, best practices in professional development, under-served populations, action research, multi-level modeling as a way to measure test equity, cross-disciplinary partnerships, graduate student research and development...

Boards, Committees and Associations

  • Advisory Board Member (2012). Smarter Balanced Consortium for development of accessible assessments for the Common Core Standards.
  • Invited Webinar Panel Moderator (2011, August). Testing Issues for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students. Pepnet, Bozeman, MN.
  • Committee Member (2011), National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Division 16, Committee for Review of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.
  • SIG Chair (2008-2011), Research on the Education of Deaf Persons Special Interest Group, American Educational Research Association (AERA). Special Interest Groups serve as a key organizational body within AERA governance. AERA is an international organization with over 25,000 members. The SIG Chair is responsible for overall operations of research group including overseeing the development and implementation of the annual conference program, student and faculty award review, and SIG membership and leadership recruitment. During my tenure, AERA made substantial changes to the conference submission review process. As Chair, I facilitated the changes, including revised by-laws, establishment of a program co-chair position, and a systematic research review panel process. The SIG has also increased its web presence and conducted outreach efforts at related conferences to increase membership.