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David J. Francis, Ph.D.

David Francis

Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair.
Director of the Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics (TIMES)
Developmental, Cognitive, & Behavioral Neuroscience
Ph.D., University of Houston

Health 1, Room 372


Dr. David J. Francis is the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Chair of Quantitative Methods in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston, where he also serves as Director of the Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics (TIMES), as well as Director of the Center for the Success of English Learners, a National Research and Development Center funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. He is a Co-Investigator on the Texas Center for Learning Disabilities, a P50 grant funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, on which he serves as PI of the Data Management and Statistics Core as well as PI of Project 1 on Classification and Identification. Dr. Francis obtained a doctoral degree in Clinical-Neuropsychology from the University of Houston in 1985 with a specialization in Quantitative Methods. He served as Chairman of the Department of Psychology from 2002 to 2014, and as Director of TIMES since its founding in 1999. He also served as Co-Director of the Texas Learning and Computation Center at the University of Houston from 2005-2012, and as Director/Co-Director of the Center for Advanced Computing and Data Science from 2015-2018.

Dr. Francis was appointed by President Trump to the National Board of Education Science for the Institute of Education Sciences. He is a Fellow of Division 5 (Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics) of the American Psychology Association (APA), an inaugural Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. He has served on numerous governmental advisory panels, including serving as Chairman of the Advisory Council on Education Statistics and as a member of the Independent Review Panel for the National Assessment of Title I. He served on the National Research Council’s (NRC) Board on Testing and Assessment from 2005-2017, including serving two years as Chair. He has served on several NRC consensus committees, including serving as a member of the NRC Committee on the Evaluation Framework for Successful K-12 STEM Education and serving as Chair on the 2018 report titled “English Learners in STEM Subjects: Transforming Classrooms, Schools, and Lives.” He also served as a member of the APA’s Taskforce on the Future of Psychology as a STEM Discipline. He was a member of the National Literacy Panel for Language Minority Children and Youth, and served as a methodological consultant to the National Reading Panel. He is a frequent advisor to the Department of Education on statistical and psychometric issues, assessment and accountability, learning disabilities, and English Language Learners. He is presently a Member of the Biobehavioral and Brain Sciences Internal Review Group and a former Chairman of the Mental Retardation Research Subcommittee of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). In 2021, he received the Hedges Lecture Award from the Society for Research in Educational Effectiveness. He was a co-recipient of the Albert J. Harris Award (2006) from the International Reading Association, and has won awards from the University of Houston for teaching (1989), and research (2007), and in 2008 received the Esther Farfel Award, the University of Houston’s highest accolade recognizing faculty excellence in teaching, research, and service over an entire career.

Dr. Francis has directed or collaborated in research on reading and reading disabilities, the education of at-risk populations, including English Language Learners and students with disabilities, as well as research on attention problems, developmental consequences of brain injuries and birth defects, adolescent alcohol abuse, and most recently on the development of methods to improve personnel selection using random effects models and the treatment of seizure disorders through electrical brain stimulation.

His areas of quantitative interest include modeling of individual growth, multi-level and mixture modeling, structural equation modeling, item response theory, and exploratory data analysis. He currently collaborates on multiple contracts and grants funded by NICHD, NINDS, the Office of Naval Research, and the Institute of Education Sciences of the US Department of Education. From 2005-2012 he directed the Center for Research on Educational Achievement and Teaching of English Language Learners (CREATE), which was an IES-funded National Research and Development Center for English Language Learners, and from 2006-2012 directed the English Language Learner Strand of the Center on Instruction funded by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education of USED.

Research Interests

  • Statistical Models for Longitudinal Data
  • Multi-level Models
  • Latent Variable Models
  • Psychometrics
  • Reading Acquistion and the Early Identification and Prevention of Reading Disabilities
  • Developmental Disabilities


  • Introductory Statistics and Experimental Design
  • Structural Equation Modeling
  • Exploratory Data Analysis
  • Longitudinal Data Analysis
  • Advanced Latent Variable Models for Longitudinal Data
  • Special problems in Quantitative Methods (IRT, Multi-level Models)

Selected Publications

See Dr. Francis's full CV