Faculty & Staff

Department/SpecializationEducation, Learning Sciences


Office Phone

  • +1 (312) 413-2320
  • +1 (312) 355-2439


  • 1570-S SSB

Mailing Address

University of Illinois at Chicago Learning Science Research Institute
1240 W. Harrison St. Suite 1535 M/C 057
60607-7019 Chicago , IL


Professor, Co-Director of LSRI

James W. Pellegrino is co-director of Learning Sciences Research Institute, Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor, and Distinguished Professor of Education. His unique blend of expertise -- which combines knowledge of cognitive science, psychometrics, educational technology, instructional practice and educational policy -- has led to appointment as head of several National Academy of Science/National Research Council study committees.

Pellegrino is an AERA fellow, a lifetime National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, and a past member of the Board on Testing and Assessment of the National Research Council. In 2007, he was elected to lifetime membership in the National Academy of Education.

From 1989 to 2001, he was the Frank W. Mayborn Professor of Cognitive Studies at Vanderbilt University, where he also served as co-director of the Learning Technology Center. Pellegrino was Dean of Vanderbilt's Peabody College of Education and Human Development from 1992 to 1998.

Throughout his career, Pellegrino has supervised several large-scale research and development projects funded by agencies such as NSF, ONR, AFOSR, NIH and private foundations. He has authored or co-authored more than 270 books, chapters and journal articles in the areas of cognition, instruction and assessment, and he has made numerous invited presentations at local, state, national and international meetings and at universities throughout the world.

View James's CV.


  • 1969 B.A., Colgate University, Psychology
  • 1970 M.A., 1970, University of Colorado, Experimental, Quantitative Psychology
  • 1973 Ph.D., University of Colorado, Experimental, Quantitative Psychology

Research and Teaching Interests

Human cognition, cognitive development, individual differences, applications of cognitive research and technology to instructional problems and the design of learning environments. Research interests in human learning and memory, individual and developmental differences in human cognition, computer models of cognitive processes, applications of cognitive research and technology to the design of learning environments, assessment designs for educational settings.

Pellegrino’s research and development interests focus on children's and adult's thinking and learning and the implications of cognitive research and theory for assessment and instructional practice. Much of his work focuses on analyses of complex learning and instructional environments, including those incorporating powerful information technology tools. The goal is to better understand the nature of student learning and the conditions that enhance deep understanding. A special concern of his research is the incorporation of effective formative assessment practices, assisted by technology, to maximize student learning and understanding. His research and writing increasingly has focused on the role of cognitive theory and technology in educational reform, and in translating results from the educational and psychological research arenas into implications for practitioners and policy makers.


  • Colgate University Scholarship
  • New York State Regents Scholarship
  • Westchester County Golf Association Caddie Scholarship
  • Austen Colgate Award
  • Phil R. Miller Award in Psychology
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Psi Chi
  • NIMH Fellow, University of Colorado
  • Outstanding Young Men in America
  • National Academy of Sciences lifetime National Associate

Professional Affiliations

Psychonomic Society, Sigma Xi, Midwestern Psychological Association, Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, Society for Research in Child Development, American Educational Research Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, New York Academy of Science, Cognitive Science Society, Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology, Computers in Psychology, Society for Mathematical Psychology, European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI).

National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council:

  • Committee on the Evaluation of the National and State Assessments of Educational Progress
    • (Committee Chair);
  • Committee on Cognitive Science Foundations of Assessment
    • (Committee Co-chair);
  • Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice
    • (Committee Co-chair);
  • Committee on Improving Learning with Information Technology
    • (Committee member);
  • Committee on Strategic Education Research Program Panel on Learning and Instruction Research
    • (Panel Chair)
  • Board on Testing and Assessment
    • (Board Member)

AERA Presidential Nominating Committee; AERA Annual Meeting Program Committee - Section C-6 Program Chair; AERA Publications Committee; AERA Council (elected Member-at-Large); AERA OIA Executive Committee (Chair); AERA GPL Committee; AERA Panel on Improving Educational Research; AERA Research Quality Committee

AACTE Research and Information Committee; AACTE Government Relations Committee; NCATE Technology Task Force;
NSF, NIMH, OERI Proposal Reviewer; Canada Research Council Proposal Reviewer, Australian Research Council Proposal Reviewer.