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Dr. Elizabeth Hughes

Dr. Elizabeth Hughes
Phone: (814) 863-2420
Office Address:
212A CEDAR Building
University Park, PA 16802
Campus: University Park


Associate Professor of Education (Special Education)


Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education


Special Education


Elizabeth M. Hughes, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Special Education at The Pennsylvania State University.  She received her undergraduate degree from Boston College (’02) and her masters and doctoral degrees from Clemson University (’07, ’11). 

Dr. Hughes’ research evaluates literacy and mathematics interventions for students with disabilities and those considered to be at risk for potential identification of a disability. She has published her research in several peer-reviewed journals, including The Elementary School Journal, Teaching of Psychology, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, and Teaching Exceptional Children

Dr. Hughes’ current research line of research overlaps her love for reading, writing, and mathematics by evaluating the role of language in learning and communicating mathematics.  She has developed interventions to support students’ language when learning mathematics and answering open-response word problems in mathematics. 

Prior to her career in higher education, she was an elementary teacher outside of Atlanta, Georgia.  Co-director of The Woodlands summer program, which offers accessible summer-camp programs to children and adults with disabilities.  She interned with the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) through the U.S. Department of Education.

Areas of Expertise

Age Levels


Curriculum Areas

Language/Literacy Ed
Math Ed

Education Levels

Middle School/Junior High

Special Education

Mild Disabilities

Teacher Preparation

In-service Teachers
Pre-service Teachers
Professional Development


Video/Visual Technology

Office Hours

Tuesdays 10:00 a.m-12:00 p.m
And by appointment

Representative Publications

Hughes, E. M., & Solari (in press). Peer-assisted learning strategies Current Practice Alert.

Hughes, E. M. (in press). Point of view video modeling to teach simplifying fractions to middle school students with mathematical learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal.

Hughes, E. M., & Yakubova, G. (2019). Addressing the mathematics gap for students with ASD: An evidence-based systematic review of video-based mathematics interventions Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities. doi:10.1007/s40489-019-00160-3

Powell, S., Stevens, E., & Hughes, E. M. (2019). Mathematics language to support middle and high school mathematics learning. Teaching Exceptional Children. online first:

Chitiyo, M., Hughes, E. M., Aladsani, M., Aljafal, M., Siddiq. A. S., & Hamdi, H. (2019). Identifying special education professional development needs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Special Education Research, Policy & Practice. 

Chitiyo, M., Hughes, E. M., Chitiyo, G., Changara, D. M., Itimu-Phiri, A., Haihambo, C., Taukeni, S. G., & Dzenga, C. G. (2019).  Exploring teachers’ special and inclusive education professional needs in Malawi, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.  International Journal of Whole Schooling, 15(1), 1-15.

Hughes, E. M., Powell, S., & Lee, J-Y. (2018-online first) Development and psychometric report of a middle-school mathematics vocabulary measure. Assessment for Effective Intervention. Online first:

Mahalingappa, L., Hughes, E. M, & Polat, N. (2018). Developing preservice teachers’ self-efficacy and knowledge through online experiences with English learners. Language and Education.

Hughes, E. M., Markel, A. M.,* & Cozad, L. E.* (2018). Evaluating various undergraduate perspectives of elementary-level mathematical writing. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education.

Hughes, E. M., & Quiones, S. (2018). “Is Sarah a bully or a friend?”: Examining students’ text-based written expressions of bullying.  Middle Grades Review, 4(2). Article 6.

Hughes, E. M., & Mahalingappa, L. (2018). Experiences and perceived benefits of an electronic pen pal experience on preservice teachers’ preparation for working with English learners. Action and Teacher Education, 40(3), 253-271, DOI: 10.1080/01626620.2018.1486750

Hughes, E. M., Riccomini, P. J., Witzel, B. (2018). Using concrete-representational-abstract sequence to teach fractions to middle school students with mathematics difficulties. Journal of Evidence-Based Practices for Schools, 16(2), 171-190.

Chitiyo, M., Hughes, E. M., Taukeni, S. G., Haihambo, C. K., Montgomery, K., & Chitiyo, G. (2017). An assessment of special education professional development needs in Namibia. Człowiek - Niepełnosprawność - Społeczeństwo, 33(3), 8-18.

Hughes, E. M., Evering, L. C., & Meyer, C.  (2017). Making space for multimodal storytelling: A formative case study. Reading Matters. 22-29

Hughes, E. M., Powell, S. R., & Stevens, E. A. (2016). Supporting clear and concise mathematics language: Say this, not that. Teaching Exceptional Children, 49(1), 7-17.

Chitiyo, M., Hughes, E. M., Changara, D., & Chitiyo, G. (2016). Special education professional development Needs in Zimbabwe. International Journal of Inclusive Education. DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2016.1184326

Hughes, E. M., Powell, S. R., Lembke, E., & Riley-Tillman T. C. (2016). Taking the guesswork out of locating evidence-based mathematics practices for diverse learners.  Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 31(3), 130-141. 

Yakubova, G., Hughes, E. M., & Shinaberry, M. (2016). Learning with technology: Video modeling with concrete, representational, abstract sequence for students with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder, 46, 2349-2362.

Hughes, E. M., Chitiyo, M., Itimu-Phiri, A., & Montgomery, K. (2016). Malawi special education professional development needs assessment.  British Journal of Special Education, 4 (2), 159-177.

Hughes, E. M., & Yakubova, G. (2016) Video-based intervention: Developing hand-held video intervention for students with autism spectrum disorder. Intervention in School and Clinic. 52(2), 115-121.

Yakubova, G., Hughes, E. M., & Hornberger, E. (2015). Video-based intervention in teaching fraction problem-solving to students with autism spectrum disorder.  Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45, 2865-2875.  doi:10.1007/s10803-015-2449-y.

Willingham, D. T., Hughes, E. M., & Dobolyi, D. G. (2015). The scientific status of learning styles theories. Teaching of Psychology, 42(3), 266-271.

Riccomini, P. J., Smith, G. W., Hughes, E. M., & Fries, K. (2015). The Language of mathematics: The importance of teaching and learning mathematics vocabulary. Reading & Writing Quarterly: Overcoming Learning Disabilities, 31(3), 3, 235-252

Hughes, E. M., Evering, L. C., Malloy, J. A., & Gambrell, L. B. (2015). “Do you have a brother?  I have two!”: The nature of questions asked and answered in text-focused pen pal exchangesReading Horizons, 53(4), 65-87.

Ryan, J. B., Hughes, E. M., Katsiyannis, A., McDaniel, M. & Sprinkle, C. (2014). Research-based educational practices for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Teaching Exceptional Children, (Reprint of original article published in Teaching Exceptional Children, 43(3), 56-64.

Hughes, E. M., Fries, K., Riccomini, P. J., Witzel, B., & Kanyongo, G. (2014). Meta-analysis of algebra interventions for students with learning disabilities. International Association Journal of Special Education, 15(1), 36-47.

Hughes, E. M., Hunt-Barron, S., Wagner, J. Y., & Evering, L. C. (2014).  Using young adult literature to develop content knowledge of autism for preservice teachers. The Teacher Educator, 49(3), 208-224.

Hughes, E. M., Evering, L. C., Williams, A., & Henzler, D. B. (2014).  Exceptional literature: Finding and using literature that portrays characters with behavioral, social, and learning exceptionalities.  Pennsylvania Reads, 13, 10-22.

Ryan, J. B., Hughes, E. M., Katsiyannis, A., McDaniel, M., & Sprinkle, C. (2011). Research-based educational practices for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  TEACHING Exceptional Children, 43(3), 56-64.

Gambrell, L. B., Hughes, E. M., Calvert, W. L., Malloy, J. A., & Igo, B. (2011). The role of authentic tasks in elementary students’ literacy. The Elementary School Journal, 112(2), 234-258.

Ryan, J. B., Katsiyannis, A, & Hughes, E. M. (2011). Medication treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Theory Into Practice, 50, 52-60.

Hughes, E. M., Brooker, H., Gambrell, L. B., & Foster, V. (2011). Tutoring and mentoring: The results of an American Reads Program on struggling readers’ motivation and reading achievement. ALER Yearbook, 205-218.

Activities and Honors

2019- Recipient of The Pennsylvania State University College of Education Outstanding Researcher Award