Heather Bachman
Faculty - Associate Chairperson

My research agenda centers on early academic and social development, family and classroom processes, and policy-relevant research with low-income children and families. I have been funded by the NICHD, the NSF, the Spencer Foundation, the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, and the Learning, Research, and Development Center to examine key contextual factors in the home, classroom, and public policies that promote low-income children’s well-being. My research is informed by a variety of multidisciplinary perspectives including developmental psychology, education, sociology, and economics. My work involves longitudinal secondary data analysis of large datasets to examine national trends, as well as regional, mixed methods, primary data collection with community partner organizations to unpack mechanisms and processes. Most of my prior work with large, longitudinal data sets involved studying the contribution of home and classroom characteristics for attenuating or exacerbating income disparities in achievement and behaviors during the pre-K and elementary school years in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K, 1998 & 2010 cohorts). In my regional work, for three years (2007-2010), I was funded by the Spencer Foundation to collect time-sampled classroom observations, parent interviews, and math, reading, and socioemotional child assessments from 289 families from 30 child care centers in low-income communities (the Pitt School Readiness Study). We recently completed an LRDC-funded pilot project with 50 families with 4 year-old children to collect multi-method measurement of home math enrichment and family processes to predict early numeracy and spatial skills. The project team is currently launching two new federally funded projects with families of 4 year-olds (NICHD) and 2 year-olds (NSF) to examine home environment influences on early math development across SES. The Co-PI’s on these two projects are Dr. Melissa Libertus and Dr. Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal.

School Affiliations

Recent Grants

How parents support young children's mathematical thinking across SES. RO1 grant from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (5/1/19 - 4/31/24). $3,056,395
Early Emergence of Socioeconomic Disparities in Mathematical Understanding (Co-PI). EHR Core grant from the National Science Foundation ($2,108,317).
Melissa Libertus (PI). How low- and high-SES parents support young children's mathematical thinking. Learning Research and Development Center. $149,962.
Heather J. Bachman (PI). The impacts of publicly funded school choice options on income and ELL disparities in early elementary school. (Spencer Foundation, #201500159). $50,000.

Recent Publications

Bachman, H. J., Votruba-Drzal, E., El Nokali, N. & Heatly, M. C. (2014). Opportunities for learning math in elementary school: Implications for SES disparities in procedural and conceptual math skills. American Educational Research Journal, 52, 894-923.
Bachman, H. J., Elliott, L., Scott, P., & Navarro, M. G. (in press). Latino children's academic and behavioral trajectories in early elementary school: Examining home language differences within preschool types. Early Childhood Research Quarterly.
Elliott, L., Bachman, H. J., & Henry, D. (2020). Why and how do parents promote math learning with their young children? Parenting: Science and Practice, 20(2), 108-140. https://doi.org/10.1080/15295192.2019.1694830
Elliott, L. & Bachman, H. J. (2018). How do parents foster young children's math skills? Child Development Perspectives, 12(1), 16-21.
Elliott, L., & Bachman, H. J. (2018). Parents' educational beliefs and children's early academics: Examining the role of SES. Children and Youth Services Review, 91, 11-21.
Elliott, L., & Bachman, H. J. (2018). SES disparities in early math abilities: The contributions of parents' math cognitions, practices to support math, and math talk. Developmental Review, 49, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2018.08.001
Heather Bachman


University of Pittsburgh
5941 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260