research interests

I research the use of reliable formative assessment tools to connect evidence-based instructional practices with the needs of individual and groups of students. I do this through:

  • Identifying the teachable components of reading and writing achievement
  • Creating assessments that efficiently identify student strengths and weaknesses
  • Examining schools’ decision processes for implementing evidence-based instruction



Current Projects

National Center for Leadership in Intensive Intervention nclii.org

Drs. Cho, Troia, and Truckenmiller will be accepting 4 new PhD students in the Special Education program to start in Fall 2020 or Fall 2021. These scholars will be part of a research network of 7 universities with funded opportunities to research intensive academic and behavior interventions for students with complex behavior and learning difficulties. Find out more here.

Exploring Writing in Response to Text Using the Writing Architect – Fall 2016 – Spring 2020

In most jobs, college, and civic life, we need to write to convey the information that we have learned from reading text or other sources. When learning to do this type of writing, we encounter challenges. Many factors complicate learning to write, including the complexity of written composition, drawing upon background knowledge, a relative lack of research on writing achievement, the lack of prioritization for writing instruction in schools, and teachers’ lack of preparation on the teachable components of writing. At MSU, Dr. Truckenmiller developed a tool that highlights students’ strengths and weaknesses on the teachable and high-impact components of writing. In the current research project, Dr. Truckenmiller’s team is analyzing the data from students in grades 3 through 8 on multiple components of writing to determine which components are most beneficial for guiding their teachers’ instruction.

Current Results

Validity: We found that our writing-in-response-to-text prompts predict 70% to 95% of the variance in writing achievement among students in middle school and that the different passages account for only 2% of the error in measuring writing performance (Truckenmiller, McKindles, Petscher, Eckert, & Tock, in press). See the new publication in the Journal of Special Education.

Instructional Implications: We identified four writing skills that can be measured by the Writing Architect and then addressed with classroom instruction as a lever for improving students’ writing. Our initial results (presented at PCRC in 2019, Truckenmiller, Cho, & Troia) indicate that these four skills influence the overall quality of the students’ writing which predicts their end-of-year writing achievement.