Lisa Hsin

Postdoctoral Fellow • Harvard Graduate School of Education
Research Fellow • Strategic Education Research Partnership

Homepage of Lisa Hsin, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Research Fellow at the Strategic Education Research Partnership

In current work I take a variety of approaches to understanding the role of models and especially sociocognitive models in literacy development. A fuller accounting of my research can be found in my CV; please email me for a copy.

Sociocognitive skills in (English learners') argumentative writing

Argumentation is a social as well as a cognitive skill. Thus measures of social perspective-taking skills help us understand growth in written arguments, and the academic advantages that bilinguals enjoy.

In one set of studies I am investigating the use of sociocognitive models in argumentative writing, with a special focus on English learners (ELs). With Catherine Snow (Harvard University) and other colleagues from the Catalyzing Comprehension through Discussion and Debate project I examine the writing students produced within the IES-funded randomized control trial of the Word Generation academic language and reading curriculum. I am primarily interested in how students use sociocognitive models in their writing, which I study through its operationalization as social perspective-taking skills: acknowledging, articulating, and positioning others’ points of view. In much of this work I have documented 'bilingual boosts', academic strengths among ELs in literacy activities. In a related line of research I have created an assessment to illuminate students' sensitivities to the purposes and audiences of written arguments, which I will use in future intervention studies. These two sets of projects are the main subjects of investigation in my lab at HGSE, the Sociocognitive Models in Literacy Education (SMiLE) Lab.

Related manuscripts: Hsin & Snow (2017); Hsin et al.* (in revision) on EL-specific impacts; Hsin et al. (in preparation) on multidimensional writing impacts; Hsin et al. (in revision) on argument judgments


Development of sociocognitive models

The sociocognitive models that underlie perspective-taking and thus literacy development evolve over one’s lifetime, in ways that are influenced by experience with conflicting views and perspectives and reflected in language skills.

I also study how sociocognitive models develop and are used in various reading and writing activities across childhood and early adolescence. With Bob Selman (Harvard University) and my former graduate student, Nan Mu (Johns Hopkins University), I am investigating the kinds of solutions students offer to controversial issues in light of their social perspective-taking skils. In that study, we measure those skills used the Assessment of Social Perspective-taking Performance (ASPP), the validation of which we also recently completed (Kim, LaRusso, et al., 2018). In addition, I am currently pursuing a more theoretical treatment of the relationship between sociocognitive model development and literacy skill development, and am also exploring that relationship early in development by collecting longitudinal data from emergent bilingual preschoolers. Last, with Ageliki Nicolopoulou (Lehigh University) and her Narratives Lab I am studying the features brought out by children's books that may condition the models, sociocognitive and otherwise, that young children develop in their earliest years of reading (and being read to).

Related manuscripts: Hsin et al. (in preparation) on solutions; Kim, LaRusso, Hsin, Harbaugh, Selman, & Snow (2018); Kim, Hsin, & Snow, (2018); Hsin (in preparation) on theoretical links


Sociocultural influences on academic discourse learning

Learning academic discourse depends on prior language skills but also on mastery of cognitive models. Support for intellectual autonomy is uniquely relevant to language-minority students’ academic discourse learning.

In an ongoing collaboration with Emily Phillips Galloway (Vanderbilt University) I am studying how sociocultural and cognitive factors shape academic discourse skills in upper-elementary and middle-school students. In one of these projects we focus on Latinx students, exploring the skills that they bring to—or need for—the task of learning academic discourse in classrooms more and less supportive of students' intellectual autonomy. In another analysis we find a protective effect of deep reading comprehension skills—individuals' and classmates'—on academic discourse learning: a facility with sociocognitive models making the language that describes them easier to grasp.

Related manuscripts: Phillips Galloway, Hsin, et al. (in preparation) on autonomy support; Phillips Galloway & Hsin (in preparation) on reading comprehension


Research-practice partnerships and intervention studies

The sources of schools’ successes and challenges are underexplored. Combining student-, classroom-, and school-level factors enables explanation that teachers and administrators can use to bring their students to mastery.

While Word Generation has been found to have positive impacts on a variety of outcomes (see Jones et al., 2019), there is substantial variation across schools, classrooms, and students in those impacts. In two studeies I am working to uncover the sources of that variation, looking to measures of implementation fidelity and to the measures of the targeted skills themselves. I am also involved in IES-funded research-practice partnership between SERP and the DC Public Schools to study developmental reading trajectories in early elementary school. In this project we aim to uncover the mechanisms by which children in some schools outperform their predicted reading achievement while other fails to meet theirs, looking at school-, teacher-, and student-level factors.

Related manuscripts: Hsin et al. (in preparation) on implementation; Hsin et al. (in preparation) on assessments

* Manuscripts in revision/under review/in preparation do not list coauthors to protect blind peer review