Margaret R. Burchinal

Margaret R. Burchinal
Margaret R. Burchinal
Senior Research Scientist
Sheryl-Mar North, Room 247
Campus Box 8040
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8040

Margaret R. Burchinal, PhD, is a Senior Research Scientist at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and a Research Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been a leading researcher in the study of early care and education (ECE) and a widely recognized applied statistician. She has authored or co-authored over 150 papers published in peer-reviewed journals, including Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and Science and has served on federal grant review committees, national advisory boards, and as associate editor for ECE issues for two journals. Her work relates ECE experiences to children’s development with a goal of identifying practices that reduce racial and economic gaps at entry to school. She served as the lead statistician on major ECE studies, including: Abecedarian Study; Cost, Quality, and Child Outcomes Study; NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development; National Center for Early Development and Reading; and the evaluations of Head Start Designation and Renewal System, state pre-kindergarten programs; and state Quality Rating and Improvement Systems. Most recently, she serves as the PI on one of the IES Early Learning Network Projects and co-PI on a 45-year follow-up of the Abecedarian Study.

While her work on these studies document associations between indices of child care quality and children’s cognitive and social development, results raised concerns about how ECE quality is defined and measured. Early work documented classroom level ratings of quality were related to child outcomes, more rigorous analytic methods indicated those associations were quite modest. She explored several potential explanations for those weak associations, including thresholds in quality-outcome associations, economic and cultural differences in what constitutes ECE quality, rater effects in rating quality, and variation in ECE experiences among children in the classroom.

Academic Affiliation: Research Professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Curriculum Vitae:
• PhD, Quantitative Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
• MA, Special Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
• BS, Psychology, Iowa State University