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Allison M. Ryan

Professor, Marsal Family School of Education


(734) 647-0597


610 E. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1259

Dr. Ryan’s research interests concern the development of achievement beliefs and behavior, particularly from middle childhood through early adolescence, and the role of the social setting (schools, classrooms, peer groups) in explaining different patterns of change across time. In regards to student outcomes she has considered variations in students’ academic and social goals, help seeking behaviors, engagement and achievement. In regards to the social setting she is interested in the classroom motivational climate, teacher-student relationships, quality of friendships and characteristics of students’ peer groups and social networks.

In one project Ryan’s research team is starting to examine longitudinal data from a sample evenly split between students in k-8 schools and students in k-6/ middle schools to better understand the extent to which developmental trends are indicative of the transition to middle school versus the early adolescent stage. In another project, funded by the Spencer Foundation, Ryan’s research team has conducted observations of pre and post-transition classes to better understand how teacher practices are related to student motivation and peer support for learning in the classroom.
Ryan received the American Psychological Association's Outstanding Dissertation Award, Division 15, in 2000 and the association's Richard E. Snow Award for Early Contributions to Research, Division 15, in 2008. She was associate editor of the Journal of Educational Psychology in 2009-2013.

Ryan earned her doctorate from the University of Michigan in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology in 1998. Ryan returned to the University of Michigan in 2011 after 13 years at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


Number Course Name Location Days
EDUC 709
Motivation in the Classroom (PSYCH 709)

Prerequisites: Enforced. Restricted to doctoral students only. Advisory Prerequisite: EDUC 606 or equivalent.
Focuses on student motivation in classroom settings and includes discussion of different motivational theories such as attribution, social cognitive, intrinsic motivation, and goal theory. Considers how different characteristics of classrooms influence student motivation to learn.

Selected Publications

"Managing peer relations: A dimension of teacher self-efficacy that varies between elementary and middle school teachers and is associated with observed classroom quality.”

Ryan, A. M. , Kuusinen, C., & Bedoya-Skoog, A. (2015). Contemporary Educational Psychology, 41, 147-156.

"Early adolescent friendships and academic adjustment: Examining selection and influence processes with longitudinal social network analysis."

Shin, H. & Ryan, A. M. (2014a). Developmental Psychology, 50, 2462-2472.

"Friendship networks and achievement goals: An examination of selection and influence processes and variations by gender." 

Shin, H. & Ryan, A. M. (2014b). Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43, 1453-1464.

"Changes in academic adjustment and relational self-worth across the transition to middle school." 

Ryan, A. M., Shim, S. S., Makara, K. (2013). Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42, 1372-1384.

"Child and adolescent peer relations in an educational context."

Rodkin, P. & Ryan, A.M. (2012). "Child and adolescent peer relations in an educational context." In K. R.Harris, S. Graham and T. C. Urdan, S. Graham, J. M. Royce, and M. Zeidner (Eds.) Educational Psychology Handbook (pp. 363-389). Washington DC: APA Publications.

 "Positive classroom motivational environments: Convergence between mastery goal structure and the classroom social climate."

Patrick, H., Kaplan, A., & Ryan, A.M. (2011). Journal of Educational Psychology, 103,  367-382.

"Help-seeking tendencies: An examination of motivational correlates and consequences for achievement during the first year of middle school."

Ryan, A. M. & Shin, H. (2011).  Learning and Instruction, 21, 247-256.  

"Do gender differences in help avoidance vary by ethnicity?: An examination of African American and European American students during early adolescence."

Ryan, A. M., Shim, S. S., Thando, S. L., Kiefer, S. M. & Thomspon, G. (2009). Developmental Psychology, 45, 1152-1163.

"An exploration of young adolescents’ social achievement goals and social adjustment in middle school."

Ryan, A. M. & Shim, S. S. (2008).  Journal of Educational Psychology, 100,  672-687.

"Differential profiles of students identified by their teacher as having avoidant, appropriate or dependent help-seeking tendencies in the classroom." 

Ryan, A. M., Patrick, H., & Shim, S. S.  (2005). Journal of Educational Psychology, 97 (2) 275-285.


Award Start Date
Jun 15, 2010
Award End Date
Jul 14, 2011