Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus


Residential/On Campus

The Elementary Education Program is designed to support the development of a strong knowledge base across all of these areas.

30 Research & Dissertation Hours
Funding through Assistantships
100% faculty commitment
Intensive Research Opportunities
Our Elementary Education program

Powerful teaching results from the interplay of in-depth knowledge of, inquiry into, and reflection upon: (a) children and child development, (b) teaching and learning processes in general and in specific content areas, and (c) the children themselves and the contexts of their lives at home and at school. The Elementary Education Program is designed to support the development of a strong knowledge base across all of these areas.

Why Study Elementary Education Here?

We engage teacher candidates in the examination of a variety of instructional approaches based on sound theoretical and research-based underpinnings; provide teacher candidates with experiences that are active, interactive, and/or collaborative. In addition, there are a variety of opportunities to reflect upon, respond to, synthesize, and apply information; involve teacher candidates in ongoing inquiry about children, teaching, and learning. Inquiry experiences are particularly focused on the development of teachers who possess the knowledge and courage to examine the complexities of classroom life and make sound choices that will support children's development and learning.

Faculty Research Interests

-Literacy studies at the elementary level

-Literacy teacher education

-Literacy education in developing countries

-Literacy studies for minority students


 -The sociocultural factors influencing students’ participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

-Text Difficulty and Readability

-Reader-text Matching

-Beginning Reading

-Phonics and Word Study


-Mathematics Education

-Quantitative Literacy

-Mathematics Beliefs and Attitudes

-Children’s development of fractions concepts

-Teaching and learning of probability and statistics

Elementary Education Research Highlights

Brand, B., Kasarda, M., & Williams, C. (in press). Inquiry by Engineering Design: Applying the Sixth "E". Technology and Engineering Teacher.

Mesmer, H. (2016). Text matters: Exploring the lexical reservoirs of books in preschool rooms. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 34(1), 67-77, 497.


Triplett, C., & Barksdale, M. A. (2015). Preservice teachers’ perceptions of struggling readers. Journal of Reading Education.

Wilkins, J. L. M. (2015). Standards-based mathematics curricula and the promotion of quantitative literacy in elementary school. International Journal of STEM Education, 2:19.

Related Programs

Students interested in applying to the Elementary Education (Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction) should contact Dr. Mary Alice Barksdale, by email at

Visit our office at 226 War Memorial Hall (0313), 370 Drillfield Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Domestic Application

Spring: January 5

Summer I: May 1

Summer II: June 1

*Fall: August 1

International Application

Spring: September 1

Summer I: January 5

Summer II: February 1

*Fall: April 1

*Deadline for early decision admission with Graduate Assistantships consideration for Fall: February 1


Mary Alice Barksdale

Program Leader
307 War Memorial Hall,
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24060

Sherri Albert

Administrative Assistant

226 War Memorial Hall,
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24060

School of Education

226 War Memorial Hall (0313)

370 Drillfield Drive

Blacksburg, VA 24061